What a film to drop on 1948! I was surprised to hear it got a so-so reception. Yes, it makes its points through unnecessary contrivances, as does most of neo-realism. But the haunted face of the young boy, the simultaneous ambiguity and clarity of Nazi Germany's defeated citizens, and most of all the restless camerawork—always circling—were ahead of their time. A raw cry to hold onto life, no matter the circumstance.
A horse's corpse is chopped by a mob in the streets of Berlin; an enveloping ruinscape is the scenery of a precise moment in time defined by the inexistence of a moral centre; everything has to be rebuilt, even purpose and ideology. The voice of Hitler echoes amidst the rubble, like that of a ghost. Long travellings follow Edmond's intermitent behavior: suicide and play blend as a continuum of childlike weariness.
pretty incredible. edmund, a personification of post-war germany's struggling dichotomy in identity, simultaneously a product of nazi germany and their loss, reflects a society's inability to reconcile its sordid past and its uncertain future. heartbreaking to witness this allegory through the haunting travels of a child in the backdrop of a destroyed berlin to punctuate this turmoil.
I can’t remember “Rome, Open City” very well, but I think I like this better. It sticks in the mind more, and that ending truly shocked me. Rossellini is not my favorite director though. I find his style to me a little too… something I can’t put my finger on. I wouldn’t call this melodramatic, but it feels more forced than some other great neorealist works, like “Bicycle Thieves.” Still good though.
It's not as strong as Roma, but it is a film that uses the atmosphere of a destroyed city to think about its people and to think about several generations of Germans and how they cope with living, since there is no time to cope with what happened regarding the war and Nazism. Edmund is the child of all these generations who do not have time to think and evaluate themselves, but he does and there's only one way out.