Friday, March 27, 2015

Rome, Open City

(Roberto Rossellini, Italy, 1945)

Covering more ground (another much-belated 1st viewing of a canonical film.)  I didn't expect the severity of the scenes of torture and random violence.   Combinations of Hollywood-inflected melodrama and pure, raw realism.  This is, after all, one of the primordial examples of Italian NeoRealism, but it's fascinating to see the famous and influential style growing fitfully, almost bursting forth, out of the older, more conventional tropes of classical cinema.  I was surprised by the epic breadth of Rossellini's vision.  Right out of the gate, he was tackling the biggest issues he could find, which makes sense, given these issues had basically exploded catastrophically in his world.  Also interesting to see the priest as a heroic figure, considering that Fellini was a co-writer, and the later attitude among much Italian cinema of skepticism and outright mockery of the Catholic Church.  In short order, Italian artists seemed to invent their own brand of modernity, and the speed at which it developed and spread is kind of amazing. 

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