Roma citta aperta

(1945)
(Rome Open City; also known as Open City.) Film. Universally acknowledged as the founding film of Italian neorealism, Roma was Roberto Rossellini's fourth feature film but his first in the postwar period. Among the many myths that have grown up around this legendary film is the idea that Rossellini began shooting it secretly while Rome was still under German occupation. This is, however, merely a myth and Rossellini actually began shooting the film in January 1945, six months after Rome had been liberated by Allied troops.
   Provisionally titled Storie di ieri (Stories of Yesterday), the film resulted from the merger of a number of different projects. These included a documentary on a priest who had been executed by the Germans for helping the Resistance, for which Rossellini had been commissioned by a pious Roman countess, and a feature on the black market that screenwriter Sergio Amidei had been sketching out for maverick producer Giuseppe Amato. As a Communist, Amidei objected to the idea of a Catholic priest's representing the entire Resistance and so firmly insisted on incorporating the parallel story of a Communist Resistance leader who is betrayed by his lover and consequently tortured to death by the Germans. Also to be included was a story reported in the newspapers about a Roman housewife and mother who had been killed by the Germans in front of her family for attempting to pass food to her arrested husband. All these strands were eventually merged to create the film's composite narrative, which then became the following: In German-occupied Rome in late 1944, Giorgio Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero), a Communist leader of the Resistance, is being hunted by the Gestapo and takes refuge at the apartment of his friend and fellow Resistance member Francesco (Francesco Grandjacquet). While waiting for his friend's return, Giorgio meets Francesco's bride-to-be, Pina (Anna Magnani), a war widow and mother who, on Giorgio's request, sends her son, Marcello (Vito Annichiarico), to bring back the parish priest, Don Pietro Pellegrini (Aldo Fabrizi), who, unbeknownst to Pina and the others around her, also works for the Resistance by forging identity papers. We later learn that Pina's son, too, is part of a group of boys who carry out their own military actions against the occupying Germans.
   Don Pietro arrives and agrees to take Giorgio's place in delivering a crucial sum of money to a group of waiting partisans on the out-skirts of the city, and there is a short period of calm as everyone prepares for Francesco and Pina's wedding, which has been set for the following day. The next morning, however, as everyone is readying for the occasion, the Germans carry out a raid of the entire quarter and Giorgio, Francesco, and a number of other men are taken away in a truck. In what remains one of the most powerful sequences in the film, and perhaps one of the most indelible moments in film history, Pina desperately chases the vehicle while continually calling out Francesco's name but is abruptly cut down by machine-gun fire. The German convoy with the truck is attacked by partisans and Giorgio and Francesco manage to escape. However, not knowing that his lover, Marina (Maria Michi), has become a pawn of the Germans through her friendship with Major Bergmann's translator, Ingrid (Giovanna Galletti), and her dependence on the drugs that Ingrid procures for her from the major, Giorgio leads Francesco to an appointment with Marina at a restaurant, following which, having nowhere else to spend the night, they take up Marina's offer to sleep at her apartment. At one point in the evening, however, Giorgio and Marina have an argument, during which Giorgio breaks off their relationship. Marina is deeply resentful and, having overheard Giorgio's plans to leave Rome the next day after picking up false documents from Don Pietro, she communicates the information to Ingrid, with the result that on the following day Giorgio and Don Pietro are arrested as they leave the church grounds, with Francesco only narrowly escaping the ambush due to the extra time he has taken to say goodbye to Marcello. The rest of the film takes place at the Gestapo headquarters and is largely taken up with Giorgio's interrogation and torture by Major Bergmann. Heroically steadfast, Giorgio refuses to disclose any sources or contacts and dies under torture. Similarly interrogated by
   Major Bergmann, Don Pietro also refuses to provide any information and is subsequently executed by a firing squad. As Don Pietro dies, Marcello and the group of boy partisans, who have been watching from a distance, whistle a defiant tune in unison before turning to walk back toward a city dominated by the dome of the Vatican. Although it has become traditional to praise the film for its quasi-documentary realism, its dependence on fairly conventional melodramatic stratagems is readily apparent. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that what Rossellini managed to create was a very different sort of film from anything that had been seen in Italy up to that time. Undoubtedly part of its immediate appeal was also the way in which it idealistically articulated the possibility of a popular alliance between Catholic and Marxist forces in a post-Fascist Italy, a possibility that was soon laid to rest only the following year with the forcible ejection of the Communist Party from the provisional government. Another oft-repeated myth that has grown up around this legendary film, one mischievously aided and abetted by Rossellini himself, is that it was poorly received when first released in Rome in September 1945. Reviews and newspaper reports suggest the contrary, with the film widely hailed by critics and public alike as a major cinematic achievement and a new beginning for the Italian cinema. The film was seen by almost 3 million Italians in its first four months of screening and became the highest-grossing Italian film of the 1945-1946 season. Its overwhelming national success was repeated abroad, with the film screening for two consecutive years in New York and winning, among others, the New York Film Critics Award, two awards from the National Board of Review, and an Oscar nomination. Shown at Cannes in 1946, the film also won the Grand Festival Prize.
   Justifiably regarded as a milestone in both Italian and world cinema, the film, and all the drama that went into its making, was fictionally revisited in Carlo Lizzani's Celluloide (Celluloid, 1995).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Roma, città aperta — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Rom, offene Stadt Originaltitel: Roma, città aperta Produktionsland: Italien Erscheinungsjahr: 1945 Länge: 100 Minuten gekürzt: 93 Minuten Originalsprache: italienisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Roma città aperta — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Rom, offene Stadt Originaltitel: Roma, città aperta Produktionsland: Italien Erscheinungsjahr: 1945 Länge: 100 Minuten gekürzt: 93 Minuten Originalsprache: italienisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Roma, citta aperta — Rome, ville ouverte Rome, ville ouverte (Roma, città aperta) est un film de Roberto Rossellini produit et réalisé en 1945. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Roma citta aperta — Rome, ville ouverte Rome, ville ouverte (Roma, città aperta) est un film de Roberto Rossellini produit et réalisé en 1945. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Roma citta aperta — (1945) (Rome Open City; also known as Open City.) Film. Universally acknowledged as the founding film of Italian neorealism, Roma was Roberto Rossellini s fourth feature film but his first in the postwar period. Among the many myths that have… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Roma, città aperta — …   Википедия

  • Roma, città aperta —    Voir Rome, ville ouverte …   Dictionnaire mondial des Films

  • Roma, ciudad abierta — ● Título original:Roma, città aperta ● País:Italia ● Año:1945 ● Duración: ● Producción: ● Dirección:Roberto Rosellini ● Guión: ● Reparto:Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Plagiero …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • città — s. f. 1. urbe (lett.), metropoli, capoluogo □ comune □ abitato CFR. borgo, villaggio, paese, contado, campagna, suburbio 2. quartiere, parte 3. (est.) cittadinanza, popolazione, cittadini …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • città — {{hw}}{{città}}{{/hw}}s. f. 1 Centro di vita sociale, notevole sia per il numero degli abitanti sia per la capacità di adempiere molteplici funzioni economiche, politiche, culturali, religiose e sim.: le strade, i monumenti della –c; il centro… …   Enciclopedia di italiano

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