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
Enmeshed with the Italian Campaign during the liberation of Italy between 1943-1944, six distinct but unconnected episodes unfold. Starting off from Sicily, a local girl, Carmela, guides a band of American soldiers through a minefield with devastating results, while in Naples, Pasquale, the orphaned child of war, after stealing the boots of an inebriated African-American G.I., is followed back to his war-battered town. Then, in liberated Rome, the impoverished young prostitute, Francesca, waits for the American soldier who fell in love with six months before, and in Florence, during a battle across Ponte Vecchio, Harriet, a US wartime nurse, risks her life to reunite with her lover. Next, three army chaplains spend the night at a Roman Catholic monastery, however, only one of them is a Catholic. Finally, on the banks of Po River, American OSS officers and Italian Partisans fight the Nazis, after saving two downed English pilots.Written by
"Paisa" is part of a WWII trilogy shot just after the war by Rossellini, together with Rome, Open City (1945) and Germany Year Zero (1948). Each of these deals with a specific episode of WWII: respectively the conquest of Italy by the Allies, the occupation of Rome by the Germans and post-war Berlin. See more »
During night a GI lights up his lighter while following the rocky path through the lava canal. A flashlight might have been used in order to help increase the effect of the lighter being lit. When the soldier closes the lighter, the spot projected by the flashlight remains on for a fraction of a second, which is enough to observe the synchronization issue. See more »
Originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 8, 1946 in a longer cut (running 134 minutes). Later cut to 125 minutes. The 134 min. cut has been restored from material found at the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv in Berlin, Germany and has premiered at the 55th Venice Film Festival in 1998. See more »
Just when you thought that the cinema form had lost its capacity to carry an important social message without the use of artsy-fartsy rethoric, there comes "Paisà"; a masterpiece for the ages. Rosselini is a name that must be spoken of in all schools and universities of the world. His ability (combined to a perfect script) to convey emotional meaning in film with the use of non-professional actors, natural locations, and still be able to make it VIBRANT and EXCITING... it´s uncanny. The power of the stories told in "Paisà", although very distant in time and geography (for me, anyways) compells any intelligent human being to stand up against every kind of dictatorship and violence. On top of all that, Rosselini doesn´t use cheap tricks to win the public´s heart through melodramatics. His films are very down-to-earth and often take a distance from their main characters, which helps our rational analysis of the situation without being blinded by passion. Like Brecht used to do, i think.
All six stories are my favorites, but I particularly like the monastery segment. It portrays religious prejudice by christian monks towards two priests, one jewish and another a lutheran, right in the middle of the war. To the absurdity of all, the monks come to the priests´ companion, a Christian, to make them realize "the true path". One more time, Rosselini doesn´t end the segment with lessons of moral; its ending is very ambiguous and ironic. "Paisà" is a gem; i like it better than "Roma, Città Aperta", also a masterpiece of neorealism.
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