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Jolanda e Rossellini (1995)

An interview of Jolanda Benvenuti, Roberto Rossellini's faithful (but decidedly irreverent) editor. She illuminates the genesis of "Rome, Open City", a movie made in such hectic conditions ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jolanda Benvenuti Jolanda Benvenuti ... Herself
Caterina Di Fucia Caterina Di Fucia ... Hersqelf
Spartaco Ricci Spartaco Ricci ... Himself
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Storyline

An interview of Jolanda Benvenuti, Roberto Rossellini's faithful (but decidedly irreverent) editor. She illuminates the genesis of "Rome, Open City", a movie made in such hectic conditions that it was not even likely to exist at all. She also gives a precious testimony on the nerve-racking ordeal of its editing and the necessity to join together shots filmed more or less at random. And above all she reveals that she edited the classic alone, not Eraldo da Roma (in prison at that time)as the credits claim. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

September 1995 (Italy) See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinema Ricerca See more »
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Sound Mix:

Mono
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Connections

Features Journey to Italy (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A must-see for film researchers and for... all!
13 November 2012 | by guy-bellingerSee all my reviews

Powerful and gripping, Rossellini's "Rome, Open City" is an indisputable masterpiece. Hence, a mythification of the work and a reverent attitude lacking hindsight. Paolo Isoja and Maria Pia Melandri, being film historians, couldn't be content to blissfully admire this milestone of Italian Neo-Realism. They had to go further. To this purpose, they decided to interview one of Rossellini's collaborators still alive, Jolanda Benvenuti. A happy choice indeed as the lady is at once a colorful interlocutor and a living mine of information. As a person, Jolanda Benvenuti never waffles and by being spontaneous and irreverent she makes the show all by herself. How pleasant to see and listen to a person who means what she says and does not beautify things. Jolanda refuses to describe Rossellini as a god: she presents him as someone not too handsome, who lacks artistic rigor, who accepts his brother's scores without liking them, who does not care enough about the post-production stage, and so on. On the other hand, she recognizes him as someone friendly and generous (even over-generous) and, for all his imperfections, a major creator : didn't she stand by his side faithfully in remaining her regular editor for thirty years? Through Benvenuti's eyes, Rossellini finally appears as a human being, complete with qualities and defects, not a disembodied deity. Regarding film history, on the other hand, Signora Benvenuti's testimony proves downright invaluable. As you watch "Jolanda e Rossellini", you tell yourself it would have been a crime not to interview her. In her mouth, the revelations are indeed legion, the most sensational one being that Jolanda edited the film and sound of "Rome, Open City" all alone whereas she is not even credited. Her name did not appear either in the credits of "Paisa", Rossellini's next film, because, according to her, the names of women technicians were not mentioned at the time. Instead, the cutting of the two films was signed by Eraldo Da Roma while, for the first of the two films at least, he was in jail. She also testifies to the incredible conditions that led to the chaotic making of the first major work of Italian Neo-Realism : shooting of the first scenes in a city still at war, scenes recorded too much time away from each other and connecting poorly, film stock shortage, uneven capacities of some of the amateur actors, and so on. By doing so, just like she does for the personality of Rossellini, Jolanda Benvenuti gives flesh to the "statue-like masterpiece", not belittling it by dint of mundane details but bringing it its true grandeur on the contrary by replacing it in its true context. To complement this sound approach, Paolo Isaja and Maria Pia Melandri yield the floor to two other contributors to the movie, Spataco Ricci, who played the German motorcyclist, and Caterina Di Fucia, who was an extra in the famous scene featuring Anna Magnani running after the truck. As if all this was not enough, the directors film in the very places where the film was shot. In 1995, the block of flats where part of the location took place, its spiral staircase, its laundry room were absolutely intact and the street where Magnani runs desperately had hardly changed, which only intensifies the viewer's emotion. All in all, whether you are a film buff or not, whether you know "Rome, Open City" or not, you should see "Jolanda e Rossellini". If you are not a movie specialist, don't shy away from this one, for there is more to it than just the film documentary aspect. For starters, "Jolanda e Rossellini" says much about a troubled period of Italian history, not only of its cinema. And, mostly, Jolanda Benvenuti's

performance (she is indeed much more fun to see than some professional actors) is so hilarious that entertainment is guaranteed for all.


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