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Rome, Open City

  • Film
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Rome, Open City
Photograph: BFI

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

The war was barely over when Italian director Roberto Rossellini filmed his 1945 masterpiece ‘Rome, Open City’, bringing the immediacy of a documentary to the devastating story about the choices people must make when all order has collapsed. Rossellini set his film a year or two earlier, as the occupying Nazi authorities conspired to crush the city’s resistance. Rome’s people were forced into an impossible position – resist? Collude? Or merely exist in the painful grey area between the two? Rossellini’s characters are many (and several were non-professional actors), but at the heart of this honest, angry film is an engineer and resistance fighter on the run (Marcello Pagliero); a priest (Aldo Fabrizi) assisting the cause, and a brave pregnant woman (Anna Magnani) engaged to another partisan. Much is devastating – but Rossellini found room, too, for the humour and warmth of everyday life. The film is showing in a brand new digital restoration. But while you can magic away the wear and tear of a film like ‘Rome Open City’, thankfully you can’t remove its sense of raw urgency and of a country on the brink of change.

Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 7 March 2014
  • Duration:101 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Roberto Rossellini
  • Screenwriter:Sergio Amidei, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini
  • Cast:
    • Anna Magnani
    • Aldo Fabrizi
    • Marcello Pagliero
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