Rossellini’s three-part series (The Exile of Cosimo, The Power of Cosimo, and Leon Battista Alberti) is like a Renaissance painting come to life, a portrait of fifteenth-century Florence, ruled by the Medici political dynasty. With a lovely score from composer Manuel de Sica (son of Vittorio), the epic Medici films are important works on art, civilization, and politics. —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
“Each art contains parts of all the others, because the arts of man live in the same reality of the world in which all things, though appearing to be separate, live together with all others and only together with the others can be known, possessed and loved.”
A great film, attempting extreme historical accuracy while keeping an epic narrative about the Renaissance in Florence flowing between two protagonists, the banker-politician Cosimo de Medici and the scholar-architect Leon Battista Alberti. I would love to make a film in this style someday about Texas from the late 1970s to the present.
A great document on an enlightened epoch, and the unique relationship between the period's artists and the Medici merchant political dynasty. Rossellini brought life to the architects and sculptors of Florence with easy dexterity and didn't embellish their personalities or lives with obvious fictitious addition. Great scene timing, and a really good cast make for an easy 3 full length film series viewing experience.
Above: Marcello Di Falco (center right) as Cosimo de' Medici. Credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection. Roberto Rossellini must have
In 1963, the most influential director in the history of European cinema at the time declared cinema was dead and that going forward he would only make television shows with the sole purpose of educating… read review