The location: Nazi occupied Rome. As Rome is classified an open city, most Romans can wander the streets without fear of the city being bombed or them being killed in the process. But life ... 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
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The location: Nazi occupied Rome. As Rome is classified an open city, most Romans can wander the streets without fear of the city being bombed or them being killed in the process. But life for Romans is still difficult with the Nazi occupation as there is a curfew, basic foods are rationed, and the Nazis are still searching for those working for the resistance and will go to any length to quash those in the resistance and anyone providing them with assistance. War worn widowed mother Pina is about to get married to her next door neighbor Francesco. Despite their situation - Pina being pregnant, and Francesco being an atheist - Pina and Francesco will be wed by Catholic priest Don Pietro Pelligrini. The day before the wedding, Francesco's friend, Giorgio Manfredi, who Pina has never met, comes looking for Francesco as he, working for the resistance, needs a place to hide out. For his latest mission, Giorgio also requests the assistance of Don Pietro, who is more than willing as he sees... Written by
Then I'll tell you who he is. He's subversive, he's fought with the Reds in Spain. His life is dedicated to fighting society, religion. He is an atheist... your enemy...
I am a Catholic priest. I believe that those who fight for justice and truth walk in the path of God and the paths of God are infinite
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Legendary Italian masterpiece with Italian screen legend
"It is easy to die with dignity,
it is much harder to live with dignity" (Padre Pietro)
Usually when I encounter commenting on WWII movies, I have mixed feelings. I am aware that it's hardly possible to fully evaluate their intensely diverse levels. The situation occurs even harder when commenting on such a legendary movie as ROMA CITTA APERTA. It seems that it is easier to end about it well but much harder to say about it so. Rossellini's movie is one of the true masterpieces dealing with WWII, a symbol of Italian Neorealism, a wonderful psychological insight into individual and social deeds. Moreover, it is the film made just in the core of those events, the Rome of the mid-1940s. All latest movies on WWII, though very well made, seem pale and only acted when comparing to this one. Let me discuss the movie in more details.
ROMA CITTA APERTA is a true INSIGHT into various CHARACTERS in their hard REALITIES that force them to particular deeds. They all cope with resistance from the German fascists who divided Rome into 14 zones and control it. The characters range from the simple Il Sagrestano, the engaged couple Francesco and Pina, young boys, devoted Padre Pietro, performer Marina to the most "wanted" man Giorgio Manfredi (a true character, the Communist Celeste Negavilla). They all cope with individual dramas combined with psychological tiredness: Pina plans to set up a family, yet fatal events of hatred do not allow for her happiness; one of the boys badly seeks a father, yet the army of death does not accept fathers or sons; some want careers as performers, yet the times force service to blind propaganda only; good Christians want to live with dignity and love, yet, the world can only offer humiliation and hatred in return. The satanic patience of the Nazis seems to win. And here arises a question: are they all forced to do things they'd never do?... That profound development of characters, though may seem too harsh for Germans, occurs to be especially thought provoking and psychological.
ROMA CITTA APERTA is filled with GENUINELY TOUCHING MOMENTS. Except for the final scene - the symbol of the movie when the sad boys walk to the city of Rome just after the execution=martyrdom of their earthly angelic tutor, Padre Pietro; I'll never forget Pina's death: supposedly so unnecessary as a loss of life but truly so significant as a cry for freedom and dignity. Anna Magnani does a terrific job in this scene, you as a viewer seem to shout with her in despair: "Francesco!" Another great moment is when Marcello, Pina's son, asks Francesco "Can I call you father?" This seems to symbolize that simple affection never dies and remains a genuine sign of hope in the world of madness and hatred. Besides, who can forget the moment when Francesco places hope in Pina that the future would bring life anew, dreams anew, happiness more stable. Throughout these moments, there is an intense atmosphere, something that keeps you on your chair speechless.
ROMA CITTA APERTA stands out as a movie with a very clever and profound SCRIPT. It thrilled me when Bergmann, with satanic irony, says to Padre Pietro "I DO NOT care about your rules!" and Padre answers calmly "But the One above you and me DOES" Hartmann's reflections on Nazis' deeds constitute an accurate psychology of doubt even among these "monsters". His character also atones a bit for the image of the Germans. But the final words about living and dying in dignity are the quintessential of the movie and leave a timeless message. But all the word "masterwork" sums up in another crucial aspect.
ROMA CITTA APERTA is one great harmony of flawless PERFORMANCES. Who comes to view as the superior cast is of course the unforgettable Anna Magnani. Her symbolic role of Pina representing the despair of the nation is one of the greatest masterpieces one can encounter in the history of cinema. I do not exaggerate: Anna does something above flawless acting: she IS Pina! Aldo Fabrizi gives a profound performance as Il Padre stressing right Christian attitude filled with love, justice, openness. Harry Feist does a terrific job as wretched Nazi officer Bergmann and Maria Michi as Marina of the Piburtina Street. This film deserves to bear a name "masterpiece" thanks to performances alone.
ROMA CITTA APERTA is undeniably one of the most precious pearls of human thought in cinema. It lifts up the mind and soul, beside all its content of war, death and cruelty, it still fills our minds with hope of the better world. Yet, eternal walk of humanity towards the gates of peace has not finished yet. However, as long as there are viewers who acquire the spirit of this movie, such walk does not occur in vain.
Oh Rome, the Eternal City, the Beloved City, the Historic Treasure of Humanity, Open Your Gates to Peace, Open the Gates of All Human Hearts!
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