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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Rome after the Second World War was a damaged, destroyed city. The huge film industry that had once been known all over Europe was, quite literally, in ruins.
Hence, when Roberto Rossellini took up his camera in 1945 to start shooting 'Open City', he was forced to make due with quite a few limitations: using scavenged film stock, whatever kind he could get his hands on; shooting outside and on location; and employing a much more dynamic, though much less controlled, form of cinematography than Italian cinema had previously seen. The result was an unpolished, rough gem of a film that, in addition to its many contributions to the evolution of cinema, left the pre-war Italian super-spectacle in the dust.
In terms of story, 'Open City' is pure melodrama; and a pretty, darn affecting one at that. Thematically, it's socialist, a reaction against the fascism, personified by Mussolini, that had just been defeated in Italy. But, it is in its style that the film truly stands out.
With 'Open City', Rossellini succeeded in taking adverse conditions and using them to craft a solid, emotional tale of the Italian resistance. In the process, he solidified the aesthetic of an entire film movement: Italian Neorealism.
The film is recommended to anyone who enjoys a good story, is interesting as an artifact of its historical period, and is absolutely indispensable to anyone with at least a passing interest in the history of cinema.
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