Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Writers Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidei
Acclaimed as "Europe's first post-war masterpiece" (The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers), and winner of the Best Picture award at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, Roberto Rossellini's Open City (Roma, Città Aperta) stars the incomparable Anna Magnani (The Golden Coach) and Aldo Fabrizi as an impoverished mother-to-be and a parish priest whose loyalties are tested by the sinister German forces that occupy their homeland during World War II.
Filmed on the streets of Rome in the first weeks of the Allied liberation and employing a number of non-actors in supporting roles, Open City placed itself at the vanguard of the Italian neorealist movement, brilliantly evoking the conflicting feelings of weary despair and steely determination that bound together the embattled partisan resistance in the face of certain death.
Yet it was not merely the proximity to the actual events that made Rossellini's film so spellbinding, but the director's sure-handed blend of gentle humor and terrifying violence, a melding of documentary-style camerawork with other, more boldly melodramatic ingredients to create a charismatic milestone of raw emotional force that stands virtually unchallenged to this day.
"You will seldom see as pure freshness and vitality in a film...The best movie of the year and one of the best and most heartening in many years" - James Agee, The Nation
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