Rome, Open City

In cinemas now.

Roma, città aperta

A landmark of Italian neorealism often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Roberto Rossellini’s portrait of life under the Nazi Occupation remains remarkable for its sheer immediacy, tension and power.

Made in extraordinarily straitened circumstances immediately after the liberation of Rome, the film follows engineer Giorgio (Marcello Pagliero) in his attempts to evade the Germans and the collaborating Italian authorities by seeking help from Pina (Anna Magnani), fiancée of a fellow member of the underground resistance, and Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi), the priest due to oversee her marriage. Giorgio is confident he’d never betray his comrades even if caught – but not everyone can be so strong… Basing their story partly on real people and events, Rossellini and co-writers Sergio Amidei and Federico Fellini brought a vivid authenticity to their depiction of daily lives dominated by poverty, desperation and constant fear of betrayal and violence. Shot both on the ravaged streets and in the studio (most memorably for the painfully frank second half set largely at Gestapo headquarters), Rome, Open City seamlessly blends sequences reminiscent of documentary with more conventional dramatic scenes notable for their pace, precise staging and affectingly naturalistic performances. Its emotional punch remains undiminished.

Geoff Andrew

Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, CSC – Cineteca Nazionale, Coproduction Office and Istituto Luce Cinecittà


2-3 May
Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth

4 and 7 May
Cornerhouse, Manchester

5 May
QFT, Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast

15 May
Savoy Cinema, Penzance

19 May
Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth

15 June
Gulbenkian, Canterbury

17 June
Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

9 July
Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold

Further reading

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