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Europe '51 (1952)
"Europa '51" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  3 November 1954 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,513 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 17 critic

Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to always live in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in ... See full summary »

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Title: Europe '51 (1952)

Europe '51 (1952) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Irene Girard
...
George Girard
Ettore Giannini ...
Andrea Casatti
...
Giulietta, detta Passerotto
Teresa Pellati ...
Ines
Marcella Rovena ...
Mrs. Puglisi
Tina Perna ...
Cesira
Sandro Franchina ...
Michele Girard
Maria Zanoli ...
Mrs. Galli
Silvana Veronese
William Tubbs ...
Professor Alessandrini
Alberto Plebani ...
Mr. Puglisi
Eleonora Barracco
Gianna Segale ...
Nurse (as Gianna Damiani)
Alfonso Di Stefano
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Storyline

Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to always live in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in need who cross her path. One day she offers shelter to a man who is evading justice, and she ends being arrested herself. Her husband, for the sake of social propriety, arranges for a doctor to declare her insane. Irene escapes one prison to enter another, and to reflect on what sort of society she lives in. Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BERGMAN'S BACK! The event and performance the motion picture world has waited for for four long years! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Europe '51  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The square Irene and Andrea drive to is the Campodoglio in Rome. The equestrian statue is of Marcus Aurelius, emperor and stoic philosopher. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cannibal Holocaust (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent
18 January 2009 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

I attended a National Film Theatre screening as part of a Bergman season. The film was introduced as one that critical America found hard to bear, not least as the deserting Hollywood star Bergman had an affair with the director, Rossellini.

I mention this as the film, which charts the resolution of personal crisis in the life of a bourgeois socialite, is a extremely open and even-handed critique of European social politics. Rossellini presents Irene Girard as having an epiphany in which she appears to be ideologically seduced by an activist of the left. This would have been particularly irritating to the HUAC who were experiencing a rash of films as backlash to their Hollywood blacklist of 1947 and would explain critical hostility to the film and Bergman personally.

In fact, It becomes clear that Rossellini manages the extraordinary achievement of charting an ideological third way for Irene. She throws herself into her naive acts of charity somewhat haphazardly (though convincingly). She is subsequently appalled by the 'coal-face' realities of having to work in a factory. Her non-partisan political ineptitude is the reason she is eventually committed to an asylum.

For me, Europa 51 is not simply the sad but noble tale of a grieving mother finding a unique way in which to sublimate her grief and guilt. Rossellini has concocted a sophisticated analogy for the poised, unresolvable social position of European society; an analogy that translates into the more digestible position of a single, normal, rational individual. It has the same, marvellous objectivity that one feels when watching the morally neutral Badlands, for example.

There are a host of imperfections (not least in the tatty, French sub-titled print we were treated to!) in this film. Only so many can be put down to the rise of the (French) New Wave and the acting can be changeable. Bergman however is very fine, giving a multi-faceted performance that never veers off into incredibility even - especially - at the poignant, potentially confusing final scene/shot. Alexander Knox is also fine. A raw jewel of a movie. 8/10


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