I would concur that much contemporary filmmaking (at least here in North America) is lacking in depth... I like cool special effects as much as the next guy (or gal), but when these become the focus rather than the plot or character development, the resultant story is empty. Effects should support the story, not be the story.
I'll be gone after tonight until Monday, but I'm just finishing the abstract at this point --- I won't finish the paper for another couple months and won't present it for a couple months after that. An abstract is usually no more than a couple hundred words in length and summarizes the paper... it is used to evaluate whether a paper is suitable for a particular conference and, if accepted, helps the conference organizers group the papers together by theme as sessions often run concurrently --- conference-goers must choose which sessions to attend, based on these themes and reading the abstracts. In other words, it's a short but very important piece of writing that will ultimately determine if one's paper gets to the conference and how many people will sit in to listen to your presentation!
I hope you find Shoeshine a worthy addition to the growing group of films we've been exploring --- as noted previously, it was the first foreign film to be recognized at the Academy Awards and is my personal favorite among the neorealist films because of the Joseph connections. A few things to look out for would be the religious iconography (the prison was formerly a convent), the significance of the diegetic cinema sequence and its aftermath, the motif of (figurative) blindness, the boys as representatives of the Italian people and the meaning of tragedy. Enjoy your viewing(s) and your weekend... I'll be back on Monday to continue our forays into the history of film!
Shoeshine wow what can I say. This is a serious hard-core movie about life. You win some you lose some some are rained out. It made me think of all the random things that happen in our lives and the consequences of those things and where they lead us. It made me think of that song by Frank Sinatra " That's Life". There is one line in the song that goes... Riding high in April shot down and May. It made me think of the scene where the they took possession of the horse and went for a ride all happy and proud of their accomplishment then the next scene they are taken into custody for the shakedown they were involved in unknowingly.
I noticed one of the actors from bicycle thieves, the guy that headed up the posse looking for a stolen bike was also in shoeshine as leader of the shakedown crew.
There's definitely a lot to get out of this film. So once again Jonathan thanks for pointing me to it.