Films around the world post-war created realism

By Natalia Jaramillo


At the end of a decade, we often reflect on fashion, art and architecture. We don’t typically think about less obvious changes in culture: films.

In a particularly dark and depressing era after World War Two, the change in films was apparent around the world as the planet recuperated from the death and devastation the war brought. The depression of post-war economies forced the film industry worldwide to create a new form of entertaining movie: realistic drama. No glamorous Hollywood dresses and sets, instead, a new set of actual homes and realistic scenarios and actors who showed the hard parts of life. Films flourished into a new era of realism. 

One great example is the 1957 Russian film ‘The Cranes Are Flying’ by Mikhail Kalatozov where a normal couple has their life impacted by World War Two. This film depicts the hardships they face during the war. The movie demonstrates the new era of post-war by detailing the inner turmoil of emotions shown mainly through the eyes of the female character. These films began showing the painful emotions that the life of war brought to many people and how so many oppressed their feelings. The Cranes Are Flying will be re-released on April 13 to blu-ray with new 2k restoration, exclusive interviews and English subtitles. 

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The United States in 1948 showed ‘They Lived By Night’ directed by Nicholas Ray about a couple on the run from the man’s life of crime and her willingness to lose everything for him. The lovers recognise how special the other is and refuse to let anything take their love away. This movie highlights the contrast of pre and post-war films by showing the audience the ugly more realistic side of crime and not the beautiful glamour of Hollywood in its prime days. They Lived By Night will be re-released on the 20th of April to blu-ray featuring new 2k digital restorations and exclusive interviews. 

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On the other hand, Barbra Streisand’s second shot at directing, the 1991 film ‘The Prince of Tides’ shows the emotional exhaustion and realism of post-war with more Hollywood glamour. Streisand plays the sister of a woman who tried to commit suicide and Streisand, attempting to get better, ends up falling in love with her therapist who finally is able to find love after repressing pain for so long. The film will be re-released to blu-ray on the 27th of April with exclusive interviews, deleted scenes, 4k digital restoration and new interviews. 

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These were just some of the emotional and raw post-war films of that time period. You can always see the changes coming within society bubbling underneath the surface of movies before a new decade. The end of the world war era’s impacts will be seen for millennia to come as the film industry continues to depict real drama.

Feature Image by Angeliki Blessiou