Thursday, April 11, 2013

178. Roma, citta aperta/Open City (1945)

Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Roberto Rossellini
Written By: Sergio Amidei, Federico Fellini
Main Cast: Marcello Pagliero, Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani, Francesco Grandjacquet, Maria Michi


So I've finally been able to track down all of the films (four of them) of Roberto Rossellini's, from THE BOOK, which means we can finally have a "Rossellini Week". I'm 100% unfamiliar with Rossellini's work, having never seen one of his films, prior to this morning's viewing of "Open City".

The film takes place in Italy, during World War II and the Nazi occupation. When the film opens, a group of SS men are looking for Giorgio Manfredi (Pagliero), a leader of the National Liberation Committee. Manfredi manages to elude them, jumping across rooftops and eventually finding solace at a friends apartment, Francesco (Grandjacquet). When he arrives at his apartment, Francesco isn't home, but he does meet Francesco's fiance, Pina (Magnani), who welcomes him kindly. Francesco and Pina are to be married the following day and Pina is with child. Manfredi, almost immediately, asks for Catholic priest, Don Pietro Pellegrini (Fabrizi). When the priest comes, Manfredi asks him for his assistance in hiding from the Germans and in doing some business for him, since he cannot be seen in public and since priests are not subject to the curfew rule. All the while, the group (Manfredi and his fellow liberators) are being hunted by the Gestapo Commander, who looks over the city and interrogates suspects accordingly.

I started to watch "Open City" last night, but fell asleep at about the twenty minute mark and when I woke up, just decided to throw in the towel and watch it when I could keep my eyes open. This morning proved to be a good time, as I actually made it through this fairly boring BOOK offering and thank God I have it behind me. Do you know how sick I am of World War II films? Very! I bet that somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 - 40% of all THE BOOK movies have SOMETHING to do with World War II; whether they're about the various occupations of different countries (Poland, Italy, France, etc), set in the trenches or about the holocaust. All right, so maybe I'm not sick of holocaust movies, but you can take the rest of them and be gone with them...and I bet there's still plenty more to come.


Not much happened here, to be totally honest with you guys. You've got Manfredi, who is standing in the way of the Germans missions, he's in hiding and they want him. He hides out at his friends house for a little while and then, later, at his girlfriends house, before being caught, tortured and finally killed. According to THE BOOK, this film went against normal, Italian, movie making standards and I don't deny that, but does it still hold up today? Not for this viewer. I had a really rough time getting to the end of this one, as there was barely anything to keep me occupied, or that I cared about. I didn't care about the characters, the story or the outcomes and really, I just couldn't wait for it to be over. I'm really surprised that Fellini wrote this, as it seemed to lack the depth and uniqueness that I came to be used to from watching his films. I'm sick to death of war films and this one certainly didn't cure my ailment.

RATING: 3.5/10  The death of Pina and the execution of the priest were the few scenes that held my interest for, at least a little bit, so I'll give it a few notches. Otherwise, this one is something I'll probably never watch again. Next up for "Rossellini Week": "Paisan".


April 11, 2013  7:08pm

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