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Made during the fascist years ,this is par excellence a propaganda movie.Roberto Rossellini 's work is sometimes preachy,mainly in the third part,when his hero tries to convince -and succeeds- the Russians that he is no sorcerer and that God loves everyone provided that he redeems his soul and comes back on the right way.The final recalls Jesus's death on the cross,the converted man playing the the good thief's part.Besides ,everybody speaks Italian and that does not help the credibility of the situations.
But Rossellini's genius -which would blossom is such works as " Europa 51" "Roma cita aperta " or " Germano anno zero " occasionally surfaces: except for the opening scenes -one of the first pictures shows doves-,the world depicted in "uomo della croce" is an apocalyptic one,we keep hearing shots during almost the whole movie : overwhelming sequences display a little boy screaming,a woman having her baby as a man is dying near her,while,outside,man's madness knows no bounds.
That said ,the cross,the hammer and sickle subject will be much better applied on "Europa 51" .
The movie is dedicated to the military chaplains.
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