Rome, Open City (1945) w/ Elizabeth Lev
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Filmed in Rome just after its liberation from the Nazis, while the rest of Italy was still at war, Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City documents a unique moment in the history of the Eternal City. With its story of working-class Italians secretly resisting Nazi occupiers, Open City did much to dispose Americans more kindly toward a defeated Italy, and made the cinematic movement of Italian neo-realism internationally famous.
Art historian Elizabeth Lev joins the Criteria team to discuss this classic, included on the 1995 Vatican film list under the category of Values.
Catholicism is central to the film, with Aldo Fabrizi playing one of the great heroic movie priests, almost an Italian counterpart to the one in On the Waterfront. But it’s also interesting how the film manipulates recent history to serve as a kind of propaganda for Italian unity and the rehabilitation of Italy’s global image in the post-fascist period—“art as diplomacy”, as Lev calls it.
Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com
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