ROSSELLINIS WAR TRILOGY (Criterion/E1): ROME OPEN CITY (1945), PAISAN (1946), GERMANY YEAR ZERO (1948) D: Roberto Rossellini, w/ Anna Magnani,.
ROSSELLINIS WAR TRILOGY (Criterion/E1): ROME OPEN CITY (1945), PAISAN (1946), GERMANY YEAR ZERO (1948) D: Roberto Rossellini, w/ Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi. Rating: NNNNN DVD package: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Historical importance aside, Roberto Rossellini’s three war movies remain highly watchable melodramas with strong stories, vivid characters and powerful emotion, told in a kinetic style that mixes long takes with fragmented images, blends location and studio work for a sense of documentary realism and uses both professional actors and non-actors.
Written during the Nazi occupation of Rome and filmed just a few months later, Rome Open City centres on an engineer, a priest and a widow about to remarry, all in the resistance, and the Gestapo officer who’s hunting them.
Rossellini followed it up with Paisan, six episodes of life in wartime in Italy, then went to Berlin for Germany Year Zero, the harrowing tale of a 12-year-old struggling to support his family in the rubble of bombed-out Berlin and the terrible decision he makes.
Each disc comes with a wealth of scholarly and historical extras exploring Rossellini’s life and work and Italian neo-realism, the enormously influential movement launched by Rome Open City. Among the best of them is Into The Future, a visual essay by scholar Tag Gallagher that knits together style, themes and historical context.
EXTRAS Rossellini introductions, Rome Open City commentary and retrospective making-of doc, scholar interviews, visual essays, Taviani brothers interview, Rossellini doc, more. Essay booklet. Full-frame, b&w. Italian, German audio. English subtitles.