Published By: Alfaraz Laique

European film movements that emerged during WWII

Films we watch today are a result of several film movements that have emerged over a period of time, especially those during WWII. Film movements that happened at that time shaped the future of cinema and there importance cannot be undermined.


One of the most impactful film movements that emerged after the second world war was – Italian neo realism, which gave rise to a new kind of cinema. When Cinecitta, a studio founded by Benito Mussolini, was bombed and destroyed during the second world war, several filmmakers like Vittorio de Sica, Roberto Rossellini etc started making movies on a shoe string budget. These new wave Italian filmmakers chose social and political issues like conflict between classes, unemployment, rise of crime in big cities and several other issues which were relevant to public in order to aware people of the real problems they were facing. It was never possible earlier under Mussolini.

At that time, Italy was also dealing with economic crisis, due to which the filmmakers chose to shoot their films in a very low budget, with minimal equipments and with new or amateur actors. They collectively replaced larger than life themes with real and meaningful characters and story arcs.  These neo-realist films took a highly critical view of Italian society and focused attention upon problems such as effects of resistance of war, poverty, post-war crisis and hunger.


Another important film movement which emerged post Second World War is French New wave, thanks to Italian neo realism. During the Second World War, there was restriction on importing films from outside the country but as soon as the war was over, these bans were lifted and people in France started exploring several kinds of cinema. A group of film critics and journalists who wrote for a French film journal contributed immensely to the movement. French filmmakers wanted to kind of boycott the traditional style of filmmaking, which was heavily inspired by Hollywood. They started experimenting with new techniques of filmmaking and instead of dumbing down the content for their people, they started giving them new and relatable stories.


Following the end of Second World War, a new wave of cinema originated in Japan called Japanese New Wave. It emphasized deeply on social myths and taboos and subjects similar to Italian neo realism but their main focus was on topics like epidemic, radicalized youth and violence. Similarly, a short lasted film movement took place in Britain after the Second World War which focused on struggle of working class.