With a cycle of projects starring his wife Ingrid Bergman, Roberto Rossellini began to lose some of the critics whose attention he had grabbed with Rome: Open City (1945). Moving away from the neo-realist movement’s unflinching depiction of post-war social realities, he was beginning to chart the emotional relationships between his characters.
Katherine and Alexander Joyce (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) are an English couple holidaying in Naples whose marriage starts to fracture under the strains of mutual boredom and resentment. The striking looseness of Rossellini’s storytelling suggests the subjective textures of life, encompassing periods of dead time that anticipate the modernist art films of Michelangelo Antonioni.
“‘With the appearance of Journey to Italy, all films have suddenly aged ten years,’ Jacques Rivette wrote. Narratively open and fragmented, driven by melancholy, astonishment and the disruptive force of reality, it is the ideal junction in Rossellini’s filmography between the neorealist experience, his artistic collaboration with Ingrid Bergman, and the adventurous, avant-garde nature that would guide the great Roman director throughout his career.” Giulio Casadei