Rome, Open City !EXCLUSIVE!
Rome, Open City (Italian: Roma città aperta, also released as Open City) is a 1945 Italian neorealist war drama film directed by Roberto Rossellini and co-written by Sergio Amidei, Celeste Negarville and Federico Fellini. Set in Rome in 1944, the film follows a diverse group of characters coping under the Nazi occupation, and centers on a Resistance fighter trying to escape the city with the help of a Catholic priest. The title refers to Rome being declared an open city after 14 August 1943. It forms the first part of Rosselini's "Neorealist Trilogy", followed by Paisan (1946) and Germany, Year Zero (1948).
Rome, Open City
In occupied Rome in 1944, German SS troops are trying to arrest Giorgio Manfredi, an engineer, communist, and leader of the Resistance against the Nazis and Italian Fascists. The landlady of his rooming house warns him in time for him to elude capture. He sneaks to the home of Francesco, another Resistance fighter. There he encounters Pina, Francesco's visibly pregnant fiancée, who lives in the next apartment. She first suspects Giorgio of being a cop and gives him a rough time, but when he makes it clear he is a confederate of Francesco she welcomes him into his apartment to wait for him. With Pina's help Giorgio contacts Don Pietro, a Catholic priest who is helping the Resistance. Giorgio asks him to transfer messages and money to a group of Resistance fighters outside the city, as he is now known to the Gestapo and cannot do it himself. The priest willingly does so.
By the end of World War II, Rossellini had abandoned the film Desiderio, as conditions made it impossible to complete (though it was later finished by Marcello Pagliero in 1946 and disowned by Rossellini). By 1944, there was virtually no film industry in Italy, and the origins of the film's initial funding are unclear. Rossellini had initially planned a documentary titled Storie di ieri on the subject of Don Pieto Morosini, a Catholic priest who had been shot by the Nazis for helping the partisan movement in Italy, and began meeting with a number of screenwriters in Rome shortly after Germany abandoned the city. Federico Fellini was initially uninterested in joining, as he had disapproved of partisan action during the occupation.
The Nazis abandoned Rome on June 4, 1944; the Allies occupied the undefended city the next day. Shooting for the film began in January 1945 under precarious conditions, with its style developing from circumstance. The facilities at Cinecittà Studios were unavailable at the time, as they had been damaged in the war and were then currently requisitioned by Allied forces to house displaced persons.
The film opened in Italy on 27 September 1945, with the war damage to Rome not yet repaired. The United States premiere followed on 25 February 1946 in New York. The American release was censored, resulting in a cut of about 15 minutes. The story of the film's journey from Italy to the United States is recounted in Federico Fellini's autobiographical essay "Sweet Beginnings" published in 1996. Rod E. Geiger, a U.S. Army private stationed in Rome, met Rossellini and Fellini after catching them tapping into the power supply used to illuminate the G.I. dancehall. In the book The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini, author Tag Gallagher credits Geiger at age 29 as the "man who more than any single individual was to make him and the new Italian cinema famous around the world." Before the war, Geiger had worked for an American distributor and exhibitor of foreign films which helped facilitate the film's release in the United States. In gratitude, Rossellini gave Geiger a co-producer credit.
The difficulties encountered by the director and crew before and during the shooting of "Rome, Open City" are dramatized in the 1996 film Celluloide by Carlo Lizzani and in it Massimo Ghini plays the role of Rossellini. In 2004, The Children of Rome, open city was also released, a documentary directed by Laura Muscardin.
Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidei began working on the script during the German occupation of Italy. However, Fellini in his memoirs claims that Rossellini invited him to "participate in writing the script for the film, which later became known as 'Rome - an open city'" after Rome was occupied by the Americans.
"All roads lead to Rome, Open City," said the great French director Jean-Luc Godard. Along with Vittoria De Sica's masterpiece Bicycle Thieves, Rome, Open City is considered the quintessential example of the Italian neo realism movement. The great Italian director Roberto Rossellini created not only a film of such powerful documentary like realism but also a film that can be viewed at as a groundbreaking work of historical importance for its time. Neorealism, as a term, can mean several things; it often refers to films of working class life and of the struggles and social conditions of people set in the culture of poverty. Italian Neorealism was a revolutionary breakthrough, not just for its technical style and raw film-making, but for the gritty realism of its story and poignant naturalism of its characters. The aesthetics of Neorealism included films that were mostly shot on a very low-budget and on real locations not using any stages or props. It was also a style which casted non professional actors because it brought a sense of reality to the characters, where the acting seemed more natural and real. After decades of Hollywood gloss, real people instead of actors were startling to audiences. Rome, Open City was written by the legendary director Federico Fellini before he made his great mark in Italian film history, as its story is based on several true events in which a resistance leader is being hunted down by the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation of Rome during World War II. With help from allies and a loyal priest who is secretly helping the resistance, he plans to flee Rome and to get to safety under a new identity.[fsbProduct product_id='815' size='200' align='right']Rossellini had been making films under the Fascist regime for years and yet was still able to produce stories that portrayed the intelligence, strength and hope of a liberated Italy. Rossellini originally wanted to make the story into two small documentaries but was later suggested to combine the idea and make a feature film. To be able to make the film at time when there was hardly any film industry left in Italy, no money to fund the project and just two months after the Allies had forced the Nazis to evacuate the city of Rome, is extraordinary. The devastation that was the result of the war surrounded Rossellini, Fellini and Sergio Amidei, as they wrote the script for the film, and they declared publicly that the film would be a history of the Roman people under Nazi occupation. Rossellini stated: "that the film was about fear, the fear felt by all of us but by me in particular. I too had to go into hiding. I too was on the run. I had friends who were captured and killed." The films honest treatment of war, torture, martyrdom and violence quickly moved audiences and it is now looked at as one of the most powerful war films ever made. In one of the most infamous scenes of the film the character of Pina getting shot and killed in the middle of the streets while chasing after her fiancée after he's been abducted by the Gestapo, is based on the real story of Teresa Gullace who was killed by the Germans in front of the barracks on viale Giulio Cesare.
Both Antonioni and Visconti had worked closely with Jean Renoir. In addition, many of the filmmakers involved in neorealism developed their skills working on calligraphist films (though the short-lived movement was markedly different from neorealism). In the Spring of 1945, Mussolini was executed and Italy was liberated from German occupation. This period, known as the "Italian Spring," was a break from old ways and an entrance to a more realistic approach when making films. Italian cinema went from utilizing elaborate studio sets to shooting on location in the countryside and city streets in the realist style.
Italian Neorealism rapidly declined in the early 1950s. Liberal and socialist parties were having a hard time presenting their message. Levels of income were gradually starting to rise and the first positive effects of the Ricostruzione period began to show. As a consequence, most Italians favored the optimism shown in many American movies of the time. The vision of the existing poverty and despair, presented by the neorealist films, was demoralizing a nation anxious for prosperity and change. The views of the postwar Italian government of the time were also far from positive, and the remark of Giulio Andreotti, who was then a vice-minister in the De Gasperi cabinet, characterized the official view of the movement: Neorealism is "dirty laundry that shouldn't be washed and hung to dry in the open."
Shooting for the film began in January 1945 but the funding from the elderly Roman lady was never enough and the film was crudely shot due to circumstances, and not for stylistic reasons. The facilities at Cinecittà Studios were also unusable at that time due to unreliable electricity supply and poor quality film stock. Because there was no film stock Rossellini had to use abandoned scrapes here and there and Rossellini sold everything he owned so he could move on with the filming.
Like quintessentially great art, Roberto Rossellini's Italian neorealist masterpiece Rome, Open City (1945) was born out of necessity. It's a verity channeled repeatedly through its own architects, the era's audacious filmmakers and historians alike. With immense budget constraints, the film was shot in actual locales, cut with scraps of indiscriminately found film stock and immediately released following the U.S. liberation of the Fascist occupation of Rome in mid-1944. Primarily documenting the alliance of virtuous Catholic priest Don Pietro Pellegrini (Aldo Fabrizi) and cunning leader of the Communist National Liberation Committee Giorgio Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero), the two conspire to dismantle Major Bergmann's oppressive Nazi forces from within. Like the collaboration between the characters in the film, the complex narrative penned by the young and prolific minds of Sergio Amidei, Federico Fellini, and Rossellini himself, provides the film with incredible nuance and authenticity concerning its entire cast and environment. Furthermore, the film's successes can be attributed to its timely nationalist message that provoked Italian sentiments of the era as well as the relatable story that paralleled the lives of many Romans. While Rome, Open City was initially derided by its own star, Aldo Fabrizi, as being "too grim and painful... not what people wanted to see while they were living through their own real-life grim and painful experiences" (I, Fellini, 57), the film became the highest-grossing domestic film during its year of release. Evidently, it proposed a sacred unifying bond, an originality and catharsis that other cinematic outlets at the time could not equal. 041b061a72