A chronicle of resistance set during the occupation, Rome, Open City (the title is taken from Rome’s status as an “open city” as of August 14, 1943) centers around a group of ordinary Romans who work together during the early months of 1944 to protect a fugitive antifascist leader from capture. Anna Magnani, one of the few professionals in the cast, is the film’s moral core and archetypal earth mother set to marry a resistance fighter after losing her first husband to the fascists. Steeped in the miseries and passions brought on by long-endured distress, the film (cowritten by Rossellini with Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidei) was hastily funded and crudely shot, not necessarily for stylistic reasons, though this style proved to be an advantage for the film’s ultimate neorealist reputation. (Roberto Rossellini, 1945, subtitles, 105 minutes)
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