Rome, Open City  

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"In 1947, at the height of her fame as the leading Hollywood star, Ingrid Bergman saw Rossellini's Open City and Paisan, his two neorealist masterpieces, in a small New York theater."--Enjoy Your Symptom! (1992) by Slavoj Žižek

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Rome, Open City (Italian: Roma, Città Aperta) is a 1945 Italian film, directed by Roberto Rossellini.

The picture stars Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani, and others, and is set in Rome during the Nazi occupation in 1944.



As Nazi soldiers march around town, Giorgio Manfredi eludes them by jumping around roofs.

A priest, Don Pietro Pellegrini, helps the resistance transmit messages and money. Don Pietro is scheduled to officiate Pina's wedding. Francesco, her betrothed, is not very religious, but would rather be married by a nationalist priest than a fascist official.

Her son, Marcello, and his friends have a small role in the resistance. Pina's sister befriends Marina, Giorgio's former girlfriend, who betrays the resistance in exchange for drugs, fur coats, and other creature comforts.

The Gestapo commander in the city, with the help of the Italian police commissioner, captures Giorgio and the priest, and interrogates Giorgio violently.

They attempt to use Pietro's religious beliefs to convince him to betray his cause, citing that he allies himself with Atheists. Pietro responds that anyone who strives to help others is on that path of God whether they believe in Him or not. They then force Pietro to watch as Giorgio is tortured to death. When Don Pietro still refuses to crack, he is executed.


In August of 1944, just two months after the Allies had forced the Germans to evacuate Rome, Rossellini, Federico Fellini, and Sergio Amidei began working on the script for the film. The devastation that was the result of the war surrounded them as they wrote the script.

Shooting for the film began in January of 1945. The only two professional actors in the cast were Aldo Fabrizi and Anna Magnani.

Four interior sets were constructed for the most important locations of the film.

Rossellini relied on traditional devices of melodrama, such as identification of the film's central characters and a clear distinction between good and evil characters.

Legend has it that the actual film stock was put together out of many different disparate bits, giving the film its iconic documentary or newsreel style. But, when the Cineteca Nazionale restored the print in 1995, "the original negative consisted of just three different types of film: Ferrania C6 for all the outdoor scenes and the more sensitive Agfa Super Pan and Agfa Ultra Rapid for the interiors." The previously inexplicable changes in image brightness and consistency are now blamed on "poor processing (variable development times, insufficient agitation in the developing bath and insufficient fixing).


See also

Open City (disambiguation)

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