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Open City, Roberto Rossellini        [ part I ] [ part II ] [ part III ]
 

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roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini

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Italian cinema in Rome

a
La dolce vita

Roma by Federico Fellini
Roma

a
Satyricon

Kappler tries then to obtain something from don Pietro, but this latter says that he doesn’t know so much and what he knows was whispered to him under the tie of the confession that imposes him not to disclose anything. Don Pietro is not tortured, but he will have to face the firing squad. Formed by Fascist soldiers, the platoon misses the target, but the condemned is inexorably killed by the bullet of the gun of a German official. The boys of the Prenestino quarter assist to the execution and, as a farewell, whistle to their priest.

Open City, Roberto RosselliniDuring the second world war, the declaration of open city, that avoided bombings, was negotiated for some Italian cities to preserve their cultural and artistic heritage. However, Rome could claim this privilege on account of the presence of the Pope, whose work of mediation in favour of the city had been already felt after the bombing in July 1943. Nevertheless, Rome was bombed a dozen times. Perhaps it was in one of those aerial incursions that Romoletto - evocative name of the national refoundation based on the values of the Resistance expressed by young generations – lost his parents and his leg. The circumstance is even suggested by the heap of ruins of some houses in the Prenestino quarter, that were still present in 1945 completing the scenery of Rossellini’s movie.

Open City, Roberto RosselliniWith limited, sometimes elusive tools and financings (see M. Giammuso, op. cit.), with Roma Città Aperta the so-called cinematographic Neo-Realism begins. The streets of the Italian cities still showed the recent defeat of the country and offered the sets that could enhance the tragedy of a nation that for two decades was delivered to political adventurers much similar to light opera characters. There is no need to invent a plot, they are taken from real life, like Nina that recalls the story of Teresa Gullace, or Don Pietro, his character is taken from two real priests don Pietro Pappagallo and don Giuseppe Morosini. With the war still going on in Northern Italy, Roma Città Aperta offers a lucid view of the future political scene of Italy. The cooperation between Catholics and Communists, that many times becomes a kind of complicity, and the legitimating of the Communist Party as official government party, in virtue of the high sense of loyalty that the Communists demonstrated towards the country, as it is outlined in the loyalty that Manfredi demonstrates towards the Badoglian allied in the fight against the Nazi occupancy. This political scenario will be overcome in a couple of years, with the looming of the two world blocs and their antagonism.

All that in 1946, when the movie arrives in the United States, is still in an incubation phase. The same American film distributors will be therefore the ones to decree the large success of Roma Città Aperta_

Gianfranco Massetti - translated by Francesca Torri

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