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.
Edmund, a young boy who lives in war-devastated Germany after the Second World War has to do all kinds of work and tricks to help his family in getting food and barely survive. One day he ... See full summary »
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 »
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 »
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 »
A barber, murderer because of jealousy, spends twenty years in jail. He cannot, however adjust himself to a changed world and to the hypocracy of his own relatives and decides to return ... See full summary »
A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... 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 vulcano, is a tough one and Karen can not get used to it. Written by
This is one to cherish, spiritually rich but not mawkishan ascetic film.
It is of course an erudite treatise on Catholic guilt, better than any inner demons Bergman exorcised on celluloid. What Bergman strived to hold on to, Rossellini can let go. But more, having offered us a broken soul, it unifies back into a single vision of the common source that encompasses every spiritual utterance.
It always comes back to the same; the same burning questions about meaning and plan in a cruel, perishable world, the same terror that we cannot effect any control upon it or make ourselves last. And, having experienced the anxieties of being and coming to pass and ineffability of attaining happiness, the path that leads out of them again. Every spiritual vision is a signpost on this path.
Rossellini's paradigm is simple enough; about a brazen, obstinate woman coming to live in an inscrutable, hopeless landscape, and about the life-renewing sacrifice that brings atonement. It could have been a simple story of religious lore, like Job. But notice how rich the different strands woven into it.
The woman filled with desires to please, planning for happiness. She wants to leave for Argentina or America, the paradise on earth where dreams are unequivocally fulfilled. She will use and abuse whatever she can to reach that imaginary place, which is only a childhood regression into the place where our every whim is to be pleased.
And by contrast, a pitiless land; poignantly as a volcanic island, where life is constantly destroyed and created anew, and the humble, hardworking peoples who have made their peace with the toll of suffering. Now it's her turn to learn to let go pride and ego and abide by the common mandate.
The fishing scene is important in this aspect; as the ritual that brings men together into a single entity, working for the common goal that prolongs life. We assume her pov for this, as tuna fish are harpooned from the sea and violently tossed inside boats. She's aghast by so much pain, but now she knows how the easy money she has enjoyed all her life is earned.
More portents; the kids she encounters in her wanderings om sunbaked rock. The first kid allows her to realize the tears on her own face, the group of kids fishing clams lead her to the forbidden passion. The temptation to escape into a selfish world.
It is all about the inner journey to extinguish the flames of ego that singe the soul. Properly reflected as an outer journey that will take her through the peak of the volcano, the summit where god is revealed.
Once there we are offered the communion with god, as usual an internal monologue. The pride that had prevented her from seeking pity and solace now dissolved, she is free to return to the world with life-renewing wisdom and understanding. New life now grows inside of her, quite literally.
Rossellini shows how our effort to master the world brings only suffering. But if we allow ourselves to be one with and embody the mastered world?
Subsequent filmmakers would make more sophisticated films on the same ideas (Malick, most recently), but this is the clear picture, an aesthetic so transparent and filled with a restraint and ardor that is only possible through a deepseated love for what cinema can do.
6 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?