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Living in an Italian refugee camp in 1948, the beautiful Karin meets Antonio, a resident of the men's camp. Though not in love with him, Karin marries him and they soon head for his home village, Stromboli. The village is on a remote island at the foot of an active volcano. When they arrive Karin despairs of the barren land and the absence of people, as many have left, mostly for the United States. She doesn't speak the local dialect and is treated with disdain by locals who see her as an exotic foreigner and a loose woman. After Antonio beats her and locks her in their house, she sets off across the mountains to seek her freedom and a better future.Written by
In the promotional material, Howard Hughes played up the parallels between the character she played and the recent indiscreet behavior of lead actress Ingrid Bergman. He re-cut the film behind Rosselini's back and refused to screen it for the press. The film got talked about before it was seen. It was banned outright in Memphis, and the Roman Catholic church urged its priests not to see it. As a result of the public tempest, the movie opened to phenomenal business, earning nearly $1 million on its first day. See more »
When the police officer is typing the report, he does not strike nearly enough keys to produce the amount of information shown on the paper. See more »
No! I can't go back. I can't. They are horrible. It was all horrible. They don't know what they are doing. I am even worse.
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Opening credits: "Our story begins in the displaced persons' camp of Farfa, Italy." See more »
Several running times exist. The main difference between the 81 min. US version and the 105 min. Italian version was in the ending, with religious themes cut out. See more »
"Stromboli" is a fascinating examination of suffering, desperation, faith and the desire for redemption. I've never liked Rossellini's films as much as Bresson's but I think the two directors often dealt with the same themes in similar ways, with minor stylistic variations. Where Rossellini used actors and non-actors who gave performances, Bresson used models and types who were instructed to remain impassive. Where Rossellini's films focused on passionate characters and emotional situations, Bresson approached his stories with a scientist's dispassion. I've always found Rossellini's films strange they are often parables that invest heavily in domestic melodrama and the histrionics of their characters. Nevertheless, I think "Stromboli" is one of his most successful films. Karin suffers so much--a war refugee, internment camp resident and then harried wife and social pariah on a desolate island--that it is easy to see how she is blind to faith. Despite her eventual redemption Rossellini doesn't paint Karin as a saint. Her protestations regarding the social politics of the island develop into a crusade to transgress their customs and protocols, often in self-righteous objection to the constraints placed on her. And her willingness to exploit her sexuality further confirms her all too human (and flawed) nature. The scenes where Karin attempts to seduce the priest and later seduces the lighthouse keeper are brimming with carnal sensuality. Bergman, as always, is excellent.
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