This was Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Though told with a bit more melodramatic flair than the other films that would form this trilogy and starring well-known actors—Aldo Fabrizi as a priest helping the partisan cause and Anna Magnani in her breakthrough role as the fiancée of a resistance member—Rome Open City (Roma città aperta) is a shockingly authentic experience, conceived and directed amid the ruin of World War II, with immediacy in every frame. Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work was an international sensation, garnering awards around the globe and leaving the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake. —The Criterion Collection
Rossellini was one of the directors of the Italian neorealist cinema, contributing films such as Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City 1945) to the movement.
In 1937, Rossellini made his first documentary, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. After this essay, he was called to assist Goffredo Alessandrini in making Luciano Serra pilota, one of the most successful Italian films of the first half of the 20th century. In 1940 he was called to assist Francesco De Robertis on Uomini sul Fondo.His close friendship with Vittorio Mussolini, son of Il Duce, has been interpreted as a possible reason for having been preferred to other apprentices.
Some authors describe the first part of his career as a sequence of trilogies. His first feature film, La nave bianca (1942) was sponsored by the audiovisual propaganda centre of Navy Department and is the first work in Rossellini’s “Fascist Trilogy”, together with Un pilota ritorna (1942) and Uomo dalla Croce (1943). To this period belongs… read more
Refusing a strictly theoretical and metaphysical examination of evil, "Rome, Open City" instead opts for a gritty appreciation of visceral human fear in the face of torture and death that perfectly matches its neorealist style. It is a film born of a very recent traumatic experience; because of that, I think it still feels like a masterpiece, fresh and important.
"It's not hard to die a good death, what's hard is to live a good life" a beautiful, but also painful film.
Rossellini dipinge l'italia, occupata dalla soffocante tirannia nazista e fascista. Grida contro i massacri dimenticati. E spera nella rinascita dl suo paese. Poetico. Simbolico. Una dichiarazione d'amore per la sua città, sfregiata dal tacco dittatoriale. Capolavoro.
Also: Elaine May interviews Ethan Coen and Woody Allen. Lubitsch in LA. New Alps trailer.
Above: Germany Year Zero. Courtesy of the Criterion Collection. Many of the extras (interviews, visual essays) included in this Criterion
"In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Roberto Rossellini made three films that helped to lay the foundations of modern cinema: Rome