Fantasia Sottomarina

Fight of the octopus and the moray eel, all the fish join in, it ends with an ancient proverb of the sea.

Adroitly filmed and edited with aquarium specimens.


La Nave Bianca

Action aboard an Italian navy battleship, the wounded are transferred to a hospital ship for treatment.

A sailor who has missed a date with a madrina di guerra finds she’s a nurse, duty restrains her.


Un Pilota Ritorna

In the Italian campaign against Greece, a flier is shot down and captured by the British.

He meets a nurse born in Athens of Italian parents.

He escapes during an air raid and flies a British fighter back to Italy, where he is informed that Greece has fallen.


L’Uomo dalla Croce

An Italian army chaplain with the tank corps on the Russian Front, left behind with a gravely wounded soldier, captured, besieged in a Russian village under attack, dead of his wounds while the village is overrun.


città aperta

A recollection of the war pieced up immediately after, about a Rome divided into “labor zones” where partisans are hunted, expectant mothers are shot in the street, the theatrical element is a drug-besotted Judas, children play with bombs, and the local boss is a fairy with big ideas and no compunction about killing priests—“a paradise for microbes.”



Puttana di Roma, rustication under a horticulturist’s influence.

Down on the farm, brother-in-law and sister, tragic ending previsaged in the city, fifth-floor suicide.

Dropped in mid-production, owing to the fact that the place serving as location received Allied bombs to the point of extinction, resumed on other premises and concluded by Marcello Pagliero, with another actress and another title.



The essence of this is the screenplay, and the sum of that is the image. First, it’s the Italian girl lying dead after being cursed by the Americans and killed by the Germans. Then it’s a pit or quarry filled with scavenging children. Next, it’s a Roman prostitute six months after the Liberation. Next, it’s a Partisan leader who fights and dies unseen in Florence. Then it’s the one about the three Army chaplains, a Catholic, a Protestant, and a Jew, who go to the Italian monastery. Finally, it’s a detached unit of OSS and Partisans cut off, surrounded, captured, and executed.

And that’s it, the other side of the Army war documentaries. The score by Renzo Rossellini exactly mirrors the delicate line of Roberto Rossellini’s caméra-stylo.



Measure the critic’s falsity. Rossellini’s daughter of Zion and his Madonna, the one a gift of Cocteau and all the art at the director’s disposal, the rest by way of Fellini and Pinelli and Magnani.


Germania anno zero

The zero point at which Nazi kultur is initiated and runs its course in a symbolic representation filmed amid the ruins of Berlin in 1947.

A young boy influenced by a Uranist pedagogue kills his ailing father to reduce household expenditures.

Hitchcock’s Rope and J. Lee Thompson’s The Yellow Balloon have odd similarities, and Truffaut avouches an influence on Les Quatre cent coups.

“The last few seconds of Fascist joy may be seen through the bewildered smile of a small boy (Germany Year Zero)”, Godard writes in Gazette du Cinéma.



So many films went into it, from Bird of Paradise to Captains Courageous, so many films came out of it, from Teorema to The Ballad of Cable Hogue, you may well ask yourself what Bosley Crowther meant in the New York Times by describing it as “incredibly feeble, inarticulate, uninspiring and painfully banal,” but he saw a cut version.

The dead are so many stars in heaven, to one who has been long in city pent.

Variety likewise, “so many morally-questionable scenes”, etc.

The beautiful English dub has Bergman and no subtitles, one of the greatest performances ever in the cinema.


giullare di Dio

St. Francis, Brother Juniper, expounding several mysteries of faith including why there are film critics, lest the seeker should be wanting in “perfect happiness”.


Les Sept péchés capitaux

Vermeer, Manet, Bonnard (the cat). The painter has a young bride, she knows nothing, he is a sovereign man of the world, anyway he knows cats and models and talented people of all kinds, she doesn’t even like the cat, it falls six floors and bounces off an awning, pushed off their balcony.

He carries it up, caresses it, notes the bump on its head. He reasons out what has happened, realizes his mistake, she envies gifts received by others. The camera stands still, no longer moving about the apartment, as she walks toward it into an extreme close-up.

Rossellini at the top of his form in naturalism and precision, the “peinture de l’empêchement” put down to mésalliance.


La Macchina Ammazzacattivi

The Villainkilling Machine will do for nasty people in the town, it’s a camera that snaps a picture of a picture of a crook or a fink and fixes him dead in the pose.

A hilly fishing town, lots of jokes, the leading citizens go, the Americans are back to build a resort hotel where they landed, a substantial Government sum has to be fought over, separating the wheat from the chaff becomes a tiring occupation for the photographer, a pious man with a gift from God, as he thinks.

A Rossellini comedy, among the most brilliant and satisfying in the Italian cinema, which is to say any.

Tom Milne (Time Out Film Guide) sniffed at it as “minor but mildly pleasing”, Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader) says it’s “a remarkably suggestive fable”.


Europe ‘51

A society woman loses her young son and her mind, wanders the slums of Rome succoring the needy, and is placed in a mental hospital by her family.

Crowther tells us that this English-dubbed version was first released in the U.S. as No Greater Love, and that “the transfer of Ingrid Bergman to the realm of Italian films has obviously not resulted in an advancement in her acting career.”

This shows Rossellini as very close to Renoir, whose Rules of the Game is practically named toward the end, in a satire that cuts both ways, all ways, every way, and still is quite serious.

And perhaps the ending, after so many farcical and fantastic events, associates the director with De Sica in Miracolo a Milano.

As a technique of perception, Rossellini’s art is instantaneous and flawless. Critics have tended to take the film at face value, which is how Bergman says it was conceived, and then judge accordingly yea or nay.


Dov’è La Libertà...?

A man imprisoned for defending the honor of his Fascist bimbo wife belongs there, as he finds out when he’s paroled.

The dance marathon (he pays), the running of the bulls (he flees), extinction of the Jews or nearly (he’s supposed to finish the job, at the behest of her family).

No, better back inside, the film represents his trial for breaking and entering.


Siamo donne

“Ingrid Bergman”, her neighbor lady’s chicken destroys the actress’s “very very rare” roses, not the children, nor the dog nor the pony. The dog, who prefers garbage, is called indoors where Bergman has trapped the “diabolical” chicken, no dice. Guests arrive, she conceals the chicken in a cabinet. The neighbor lady storms in and calls her a chicken thief.

A silly story, Bergman tells the camera.


Viaggio in Italia

The romance of Italy, the Italy of romance, how these extremes meet.

The subtale of a vanished poet recurs in John Huston’s The Dead, Rossellini’s English couple are named Joyce.

Naples, Capri, Pompeii, il miracolo della Vergine.

Uncle Homer, “not a normal person”, is Uncle Ez the Italian expatriate.

A complete vacation.

Bored, he tries a mistress but she’s married, a sorrowing whore besieges him. Reminiscent, she visits the museum, accepts the flattery of princes, sees the ancient places.

They meet at a festival in the streets.


Non credo più all’amore
La paura

It take