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Time for a classic! For our August meeting of Italian film-lovers (a little later than usual, forgive the summer tardiness!) we'll be discussing one of the most foundational films of Italian Neorealism, a story of oppression and resistance in Nazi-occupied Rome. This month we'll be taking a look at Roberto Rossellini's momentous, harrowingly timeless depiction of war...
ROME, OPEN CITY (Roma città aperta, 1945)
Dir. by Roberto Rossellini
Available to rent on Amazon, YouTube or Vudu. Streaming on HBO Max or the Criterion Channel.
In the recently declared "open" Rome of 1944 (when the city gave up its defenses against occupying forces), a small band of everyday people strive to maintain a practice of resistance as best they can. For some, this entails housing and hiding those the Nazis have deemed politically unsavory. For others, it is outright rebellion through counter-insurgency. For everyone it is dangerous. Rossellini's landmark film follows the alliances, concessions, and betrayals of a people under the boot of a fascist police state and the lengths to which they will go in order to hold onto their dignity, their faith, and their lives.
Rome Open City is a touchstone work of neorealism that has influenced countless filmmakers and film movements in the almost 80 years since its release, and has been inducted into the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage's 100 Films to be Saved (100 film italiani da salvare) as one of the films that has "100 films that have changed the collective memory of the country." Let's talk about it!
*As a reminder - make sure to finish the film before coming to discussion!*