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98 Rome, Open City 
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Post Re: 98 Rome, Open City
Indeed, this thread does needs comments.

Rosselini's 'Rome, Open City' is a milestone of European cinema. It was one of the first movies made post WW2, supposedly based on true events and filmed on the streets of Rome in a quasi-documentary style. Consequently, the movie captures the situation of Nazi-occupied Rome with unimpeachable realism - or does it?

Let's start with a brief capsule of the plot: A cell of the Italian underground resistance against the German occupiers, led by Communist engineer Manfredi, is under constant threat of being exposed to the Gestapo. Sympathetic Catholic priest Don Pietro helps the resistance fighters, but, ultimately, Manfredi's lover betrays him to the Nazis and the resistance fighters suffer torture and execution at the hand of the Nazis.

The best thing about 'Rome, Open City' is its portrayal of a specific time and place and the people inhabiting it - whenever it depicts life under Nazi occupation it rings true, whether it shows ordinary people storming a bakery to get bread, because they are hungry or Italian policemen 'just doing their jobs', etc. Also, 'Rome, Open City' doesn't follow the trajectory of a typical movie plot.

However, in some aspects, the movie is clearly scripted. The elegant, yet despicable Gestapo commandant behaves too much like a movie villain and his obviously lesbian femme fatale henchwoman points in the direction of co-writer Federico Fellini.

But these are minor criticisms. 'Rome, Open City' is a film more to be admired than loved, but I was captivated throughout, despite of the very poor audio and video quality of the print, from which the DVD transfer was made.

P.S.: Interestingly, the film was banned from public viewings in Germany until the early 1960ies. The rather cynical reasoning behind this decision was that the movie would endanger the peace and reconciliation between the nations. Even after its release, the German dubbing tones down the evilness of the Nazi's dialogue somewhat. Also, a five minute torture scene is still missing from the DVD version.


Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:33 pm
Post Re: 98 Rome, Open City
Unke wrote:
'Rome, Open City' is a film more to be admired than loved


Name me an Italian film for which this isn't the case.


Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:47 am
Post Re: 98 Rome, Open City
MGamesCook wrote:
Unke wrote:
'Rome, Open City' is a film more to be admired than loved


Name me an Italian film for which this isn't the case.


Where to start - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, perhaps? Amarcord? Suspiria?


Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:18 am
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Post Re: 98 Rome, Open City
Bread and Tulips. I should have included my review here as well:

Rome, Open City (1945): It is the spring of 1944, the Italians have changed sides but the Germans have occupied northern Italy including Rome. However, there is a resistance movement in the hills with contacts with the legitimate Italian government and the Germans are determined to suppress it through force and torture. In particular, they are hunting for Giorgio Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero), one of the resistance leaders.

Don Pietro Pellegrini (Aldo Fabrizi) is a priest who aids the resistance, including providing false documentation. Pina (Anna Magnani) is on the eve of her wedding to Francesco when Manfredi appears on her doorstep and she is suddenly much too deeply involved.

Great film, directed by Roberto Rossellini, with brilliant performances by Fabrizi and Magnani; this film made them internationally famous and won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival. The story of how the film was made in the ruined city on a shoestring and a prayer is almost as dramatic as the film itself. I didn't care for Maria Michi or Harry Feist, but most of the cast is fine, especially considering a lot of them are non-actors. Stronger in the first half before
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Pina dies and
the film becomes more conventional. The script was nominated for an Oscar and was written by Sergio Amidei and some obscure Italian named Federico Fellini, who later went on to direct a film or two.

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Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:35 pm
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