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 ... 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.
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
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
I've a man who must talk before dawn and a priest who is praying for him. He'll talk
And if not?
And if not?
Then it would mean an Italian is worth as much as a German. It would mean there is no difference in the blood of a slave race and a master race. And no reason for this war.
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Rosselini shot 'Roma Città Aperta' in the open streets post-war. His film-making resources were limited, as is apparent in the film, since he uses natural lighting, non-professional actors and a delicate sound system) but it only gives the film a stark and more authentic look making the atmosphere more terrifying and a the experience more real. Most of the 'props' and 'sets' and even many of the Nazi soldiers were real. Unlike many historical films, this one does right by the historical facts (even though it's a work of fiction).
What is most outstanding is Rosselini's compelling storytelling. Instead of showing us a documentary account (due to lack of film-equipments) he gives us a moving story of resistance. I was also impressed by the subtle way he brought out the characters such as the homosexuality of the Nazis. He also extracts marvelous performances from his actors. Aldo Fabrizi and Anna Magnani stand out. The background score (though used minimally) adds some melodrama but not in a poor way.
If one can look beyond the poor technology of the film, 'Roma Città Aperta' is one of the most powerful films of its genre. Though the film may depress, and at some point horrify the viewer, the ending is profound and hopeful. In the end, it's a story about fear, courage, integrity and hope.
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