Rome, Open City (1945)

1 06 2010

Directed by Roberto Rosselini, Rome, Open City is set in Nazi occupied Rome in 1944.  The film follows the lives of certain impoverished peoples who attempt to form a resistance to the Gestapo forces inhabiting their home city.  Rosselini masterfully captures the plights of not only the men who conspire and hide from Nazi officers in attempts to make plans against the Gestapo, but also the plights of the women both weak and strong who become entangled in their plots, the children who are eager to play a larger part in the war their parents try so hard to protect them from, as well as the plight of a brave and magnanimous priest.

The movie feels very real.  This is largely in part due to the filming on site, but even more largely due to the magnificent cast and their extraordinary acting.  Together and apart their roles in the film are so powerful in poignancy and rawness.  This is especially true of Anna Magnani’s part as Pina, a tired widower with a young son and child on the way.  With her imminent marriage and her betrothed Francesco (Francesco Grandjacquet) hiding from and plotting against the Gestapo, her weariness, fear, and guardedness are palpable.  Aldo Fabrizi as Don Pietro Pelligrini, the benevolent priest, is the other tour de force of the film.  The two of them alone could have held together the film, and had me in tears with their strength of characters.

I highly recommend this movie.  It reminded me a lot of Bicycle Thieves in feeling and power…

My rating: 9/10

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