Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice. Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies ...
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Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to living in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in need ... See full summary »
Karen, a young woman from the Baltic countries, marries fisherman Antonio to escape from a prisoners camp. But the life in Antonio's village, Stromboli, threatened by the volcano, is a tough one and Karen cannot get used to it.
The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers - starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their ... See full summary »
Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
Vittorio De Sica
Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice. Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies protecting a G.I., but the Yanks think she killed him. A street urchin steals shoes from a G.I. who tracks him to a shanty town. A G.I. meets a woman the day Rome is liberated; in six months they meet again: he's cynical, she's a prostitute. A US nurse braves the trip across the Arno into German fire in search of a partisan she loves. Three chaplains, including a Jew, call on a monastery north in the Apennines. Allied soldiers and partisans try to escape capture in the marshes of the Po. Written by
The film project started in 1945 as a collection of seven stories of American soldiers after their landing on Sicily, and their relationships with Italian people. In December 1945, it was announced on the newspapers as "Sette Americani". See more »
During night a GI lights up his lighter while following the rocky path through the lava canal. A flashlight might have been used in order to help increase the effect of the lighter being lit. When the soldier closes the lighter, the spot projected by the flashlight remains on for a fraction of a second, which is enough to observe the synchronization issue. See more »
At times devastating, at times with a little faith- Paisa is Rossellini's neo-realist epic
Now that I have seen all three films in Roberto Rossellini's 'post-war' trilogy (the others being the groundbreaking Open City and Germany Year-Zero), I think Paisa is the one that got to me the most. I knew when I saw clips of the film in Scorsese's My Voyage to Italy that it would have some level of promise, but I didn't know it could be this compelling. Divided up into six vignettes, Rossellini paints something of a historical document as much as a film- each one carries its own strengths (there may be a weakness here and there for some, though this may lend itself to the fact that the film has not been restored and is in dire need of new subtitles), and the documentary-type approach elevates characters and situations to the level of great tragedy. These may be fictionalized accounts, they may not be, but in telling these stories, getting them through to the audience at the time, they remain potent little notes in film history.
From vignette to vignette, the allied forces move their way upward from Sicily to northern Italy. Among them, I got struck by how frank the issues were being dealt with, and how levels of humanity and kindness crept their way in. For example, the story with the drunken black man who spends some time with a kid dealing in the black-market, this is an emotionally complex scene- a viewer won't know how it'll turn out in the first few minutes, but it unfolds precisely to the characters' natures. The story involving the soldiers spending time in the monastery was also powerfully simplistic in the way it dealt with the themes of faith and sacrifice (the later stems to the other vignettes). And there are numerous other moments and scenes that can stop you dead in your tracks- a young child that cries in one scene and a nurse braving enemy territory had my mouth open.
I realize not that many people in my generation will seek out this film- notably since it's not easy to find except on-line- and certain scenes may seem too 'mushy' for some. However, there is worth to seeking out a work such as Paisa- in a sense, this and Rossellini's other early films were like the first independent films to Italy's claim. There isn't any sign in any of his post-war pictures that he's catering to studios or working on big budgets. These are stories being told with little money, non-professionals, and they definitely last years later after all the rubble was cleared. Maybe most remarkable is the way Rossellini and his writers (one of them Fellini) let things happen, and not without consequence or without logic of some sort.
It's also a technically brilliant feature, with the cinematography by Otello Martelli creating shots as heart-rending as the performances. So, for those who hate dictated plots, sloppy clichés, and all the other disappointments found in 21st century movie-making & storytelling, this is a great place to dip your toes. If anything, it's surely thrilling as a war film.
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