Roma, città aperta

Roma, città aperta

Open city

DVD - 1997 | Italian
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The loyalties of an impoverished mother-to-be and a parish priest are tested by the German forces which occupy their homeland during World War II.
Publisher: Chatsworth, CA : Image Entertainment, [1997]
Branch Call Number: ITA MOVIE OPE
Language Note: In Italian with English subtitles
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (105 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Open city [videorecording]


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Dec 10, 2015

This is one of the founding films of Italian neorealism, so it's worth watching for it's historical value and influence. I found it to be a hard going as a viewing experience.

Dec 10, 2015

This is a war-time drama directed by Roberto Rossellini, originally released as a motion picture in 1945.
The film brought international attention to Italian cinema and is considered a quintessential example of neorealism in film, so much so that together with Paisà and Germania anno zero it is called Rossellini's "Neorealist Trilogy."
The pending marriage of the Catholic Pina and the communist Francesco might suggest the working partnership of communists and Catholics in the actual historical resistance.
Superb is the performance of Aldo Fabrizi as the priest, who stands for dignity and humanity.
Marcello Pagliero is excellent too, as the resistance leader, and Anna Magnani brings humility and sincerity to the role of the woman who is killed.

Dec 19, 2014

Roberto Rossellini’s magnificent film about life in Rome under Nazi rule was in the vanguard of the Italian neo-realism movement and is as powerful now as it ever was. Although his professional actors are incredible (Anna Magnani can do no wrong) his cast of non-professionals, including actual German POWs in the role of enemy soldiers, is wholly believable; small wonder when you consider the real Occupation was still fresh in everyone’s mind. Over the course of a few days we’re introduced to a wide cross-section of people including a Catholic priest drawn into the resistance armed only with his faith, a young widow planning her wedding in the midst of chaos, a bitter actress turned collaborator, and a world-weary German officer who regards his “master race” with a jaundiced eye. Rossellini strikes a perfect dramatic balance between hope and despair, softening the film’s many tragic moments with flashes of comic relief to remind us that life goes on. Although heroes and traitors are given equal time a series of inspirational soliloquies leave no doubt as to where his sentiments rightly lie; it’s this lack of the usual bombastic sermons that truly highlights the everyday courage of his characters. Despite it’s stark realism Open City nevertheless contains some truly cinematic moments as when a group of children solemnly walk away after witnessing an execution, or the image of an ostentatious German officers’ club which backs onto a torture chamber. The portrayal of a heartless Nazi moll as a predatory lesbian didn’t sit well with me however, was her homosexuality supposed to indicate how utterly depraved she was? This implied homophobia is a small, albeit troubling criticism for a film that is otherwise pretty near perfect.

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