by guest writer
Roma, città aperta (Rome, Open City) opens the month dedicated to Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Being considered his first breakthrough movie, Roma, città aperta is also one of the first Neo-Realistic products. After just two years since the fascist regime had collapsed, Rossellini’s efforts in producing this film on his own were considerable. Forming a team of immense talent that included Federico Fellini as screenplay writer and Anna Magnani as Pina, the main female character, the director funded the movie from loans.
The story takes place during WWII in Rome where a group of oppressed people and community symbols decide to fight the regime. A simple yet complex depiction of war horrors, the movie impresses the viewer with its cruelty and desolating sights of ruins where the Italians lead their day-to-day existence. The cinematography combines semi-documentaristic footage, delightful long shots plus close-ups and although unlike Rossellini’s other Neo-Realistic achievements, like Paisà (1946) and Germania anno zero (1948), Roma, città perta uses professional actors beside unprofessionals, the film’s authenticity wasn’t altered. Jean Renoir considered it to be one of the most masterly productions in the history of cinema.
photo: still from the film; production credits