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This movie is icily impersonal.All that made Rossellini one of the greatest directors ever seems to have vanished here.Rossellini's passion was history and the way he used the different backgrounds (WW2 in Italy,Germany after the fall,Europa in the early fifties ("Europa 51" was a revealing title) ,carbonari,etc) was subtle,engrossing and absorbing.He would continue in that vein with his admirable film about Louis XIV.
The early sixties context is rather vague .Rossellini's directing shows the influence of the FRench nouvelle vague ,not for better (if at least he had borrowed from Antonioni): filming on location in the streets of Roma,a very vague screenplay ,a character -well played by Vittorio Gassmann- with frames of mind.We will never really know whether he is a real b... as Eleonora Rossi Drago's baroness claims or simply a child of the war.He is 36 after all,and like his old friend Mimosa ,he probably got a raw deal,which his young wife cannot understand.The movie really takes off when Rossi-Drago appears.The first thirty minutes are almost worthless.
If you want to start a Rossellini collection,this is not the one to choose first.
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