The first collaboration between Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman is a devastating portrait of a woman’s existential crisis, set against the beautiful, forbidding backdrop of a volcanic island. Balancing the director’s trademark neorealism with deeply felt melodrama, Stromboli is a revelation.
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a woman's failure is symbolised by a phallic volcano (stromboli), a man's failure is symbolised by a yonic sandpit (woman in the dunes). both trapped, needed, both bigger than their newly acquired lives. no, i am not into wha'd'ya callet, psychoparalysis. it just came to my mind floating from the mediterranean.
Karin's tragedy is not delivered in one powerful punch like Pina's, but her walk up to an earthly hell is perhaps a more powerful representation of our struggle against the world. Karin is not killed directly by her fellow humans, but it's by her relations with them (in her native country, in the camp, and in the island) that she's driven to inflict the tragedy on herself. As beautiful as they come from Rossellini.
I might be wrong but I found Stromboli one of the most compelling neorealism examples that are quite forgotten. It has a strong sociological point of view that enhances the realism stereotype, however Stromboli also has a curious and overwhelming perspective centered on religion and faith, reminding in a way the final of Bergman's The Virgin Spring. The narrative focus on a woman is great as well.
I enjoyed this film quite a bit. Rossellini made an interesting metaphor about the Holocaust and its survivors. That is, even though they escaped one hell, they entered into another, yet they'll fight so that the next generation will have a good life. Simply beautiful!
I found the last monologue from Bergman to be very reminiscent of Christ's last words while being crucified, which made the last scenes to be pretty overwhelming for me. Still, I prefer Rossellini's crudity from Germany, Year Zero, for example.
After completing changing the world of cinema Rossellini continued to reinvent himself as an artist and especially with this film experimented further on the limits that cinema could go through. Ingrid Bergman is phenomenal here as well.