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Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City / Paisan / Germany Year Zero) (The Criterion Collection)


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Roberto Rossellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. And it was with his trilogy of films made during and after World War II ROME OPEN CITY, PAISAN, and GERMANY GROUND ZERO that he left his first transformative mark on cinema. With their stripped-down aesthetic, largely nonprofessional casts, and unorthodox approaches to storytelling, these intensely emotional works were international sensations and effectively launched the neorealist movement. Shot in battle-ravaged Italy and Germany, these three films are some of our most lasting, humane documents of devastated postwar Europe, containing universal images that encompass both tragedy and hope. The Allies had barely driven the Nazis out of Rome when Roberto Rosselini went to work on Open City, considered by most to be his greatest work. Shot on bits and short ends of scavenged film, this film helped define Italian neorealism. Audiences were convinced that the actors were all amateurs (they weren't) and the whole film was improvised (it wasn't; the three screenwriters included Federico Fellini). With its semi documentary camera style and use of actual locations, the film does feel very real. Of course, so does the opening half-hour of Saving Private Ryan, and like that film Open City is at its heart a classic war yarn any Hollywood studio would feel at home with. The story involves members of the Italian underground trying to smuggle badly needed cash out of Nazi-occupied Rome to partisan fighters in the mountains, while the Nazis are hunting down one of the underground, a notorious freedom fighter and seditionist. Anna Magnani (an actor well established in her own country who became an international star with this film) is often singled out for her portrayal as the pregnant, unwed woman who gets caught up in the action on her wedding day, but the entire cast is topnotch. The sparse subtitles are both a blessing and a curse--there is less to read, which allows the viewer to concentrate on the visuals, but there are times when non-Italian-speakers will feel like they're missing out on some juicy dialogue. --Geof Miller
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Product Information   Specifications for Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City / Paisan / Germany Year Zero) (The Criterion Collection) Below:

Manufacturer Criterion
UPC 715515051316
Item Weight 0.8 pounds
Item Size 5.25 x 1.25 x 1.25 inches
Package Weight 0.7 pounds
Package Size 5.5 x 1.2 x 1.2 inches
Units in Package 1

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