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Rome, Open City

Directed by Roberto Rossellini.
With Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero.
Italy, 1945, DCP, black & white, 103 min.
Italian and German with English subtitles.
DCP source: Janus Films

Made in the last days and immediate aftermath of World War II, Rossellini’s revelatory masterpiece initiated the movement known as Italian neorealism. Shooting on location and using a mix of nonprofessional actors and professionals playing against type, Rossellini presents a picture of Rome and its ordinary people struggling to survive under German occupation. Day-to-day life alternates with heroics, and the group predominates over individuals during a rare period of cooperation between Catholic clergy and Communist Party resistance in the face of a common enemy. When the director enlisted a young Fellini to contribute to the script, he began Fellini’s formative apprenticeship in improvisational, documentary-like neorealism and helped launch the colorful, controversial career of the twenty-four-year-old with a film so realistic in detail and contemporary in content, it was banned in several countries.

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