Watching Roberto Rossellini’s ROME OPEN CITY is a devastating experience. Seeing humanity at its worst, in Nazi occupied Rome, it is hard to put yourself into the shoes of those who lived through the experience. However the shooting style of the film and the universality of the human indignity make the film’s message reach even those who have never experienced war first hand.
Tag: Roberto Rossellini
Written by Jess Wilton
Italy, 1950. 75 min. Rizzoli Film and Cineriz.
Cast: Brother Nazario Gerardi, Arabella Lemaitre, Aldo Fabrizi; Music: Enrico Buondonno, Renzo Rossellini; Cinematography: Otello Martelli; Produced by: Giuseppe Amato; Written by: Roberto Rossellini, Frederico Fellini, Father Antonio Lisandrini, Father Felix Morlion; Directed by: Roberto Rossellini
The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) initially doesnâ€™t seem to fit in with Rosselliniâ€™s best-known films. Set in the Italian countryside of the thirteenth century, it details the exploits of a dozen or so medieval monks rather than a handful of war-weary contemporary Europeans, and at first glance, there doesnâ€™t appear to be much at stake, or much direction to the narrative. St. Francis himself doesnâ€™t even eat up much screen time, nor does he drive the relaxed, whimsical stories adapted by Rossellini and Frederico Fellini from â€œThe Little Flowers of St. Francis,â€ a collection of stories written in the 14th century about the jocular saint and his followers. All in all, itâ€™s a far cry from films like Rome, Open City, that deal with the problems of post-WWII Italy.
Written by Jason Haas
Italy, 1945. 100 min. Excelsa Films.
Cast: Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani, Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico; Cinematography: Ubaldo Arata; Produced by: Giuseppe Amato, Ferruccio De Martino, Roberto Rossellini; Written by: Sergio Amidei, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini; Directed by: Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini is commonly regarded as one of the true masters of Italian neo-realism, and Rome is oftenâ€”though erroneouslyâ€”pointed to as the first neorealist film.Â While Rossellini was certainly working towards an aesthetic of realism, Rome is not his most representative neorealist workâ€”melodramatic and propagandistic in places, it undermines its ability to depict the life of the average person.Â Nevertheless, with Rome, Open City, Rossellini paved the way for the more immediate, raw aesthetic that has come to define the field of independent cinema.