Review from the Criterion website :
This was Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Though told with more melodramatic flair than the other films that would form this trilogy and starring some well-known actors—Aldo Fabrizi as a priest helping the partisan cause and Anna Magnani in her breakthrough role as the fiancée of a resistance member—Rome Open City (Roma città aperta) is a shockingly authentic experience, conceived and directed amid the ruin of World War II, with immediacy in every frame. Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work garnered awards around the globe and left the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake. Continue reading
Icarus Films PR about the movie:
The longest siege during World War II was that of Leningrad, which lasted for 900 days, from September 1941 to January 1944, when Hitler attempted to starve the Soviet city of three million people into submission. Estimates of the number of residents who died from starvation, disease or cold range from 641,000 to 800,000.
Comprised solely of rarely-seen footage found in Soviet film archives by director Sergei Losnitsa, BLOCKADE vividly re-creates those momentous events, featuring a meticulously reconstructed, state-of-the-art soundtrack added to the original black-and-white silent footage. The result gives viewers the eerie impression of being not just an observer but virtually a participant in the events as they unfold on the streets of Leningrad. Continue reading
The film develops as the author’s diary, where unbiased narration is dissolved in the lyrical intonation. You watch the real persons in the particular circumstances on the screen. They are Russian frontier–guards on the Tadjik–Afghani border. But it is also a piece of art, where aesthetic laws give the theme and arrange the facts taken from life.
That is why the film begins with the story about Mozart, about death concealing under the poor cover of the daily routine, about music, breaking through this cover and absorbing spiritual voices of the Universe. And that’s why the northern landscape is being shown during a long while, motionless and at the same time subtly changing.
A partisan comes secretly to town to find about what happened to his little son who barely remembers him. He is horrified when he finds out that his son is raised in a colaborators’ orphanage, brought up to hate and fight communists and partisans. He decides to take his son to the freed territory out of town…
SYNOPSIS: Roberto Rossellini’s follow-up to his breakout Rome Open City was the ambitious, enormously moving Paisan (Paisà), which consists of six episodes set during the liberation of Italy at the end of World War II, and taking place across the country, from Sicily to the northern Po Valley. With its documentary-like visuals and its intermingled cast of actors and nonprofessionals, Italians and their American liberators, this look at the struggles of different cultures to communicate and of people to live their everyday lives in extreme circumstances is equal parts charming sentiment and vivid reality. A long-missing treasure of Italian cinema, Paisan is available here for the first time in its full original release version. Continue reading
Frenchwoman Michele de la Becque, an opponent of the Nazis in German-occupied Paris, hides a downed American flyer, Pat Talbot, and attempts to get him safely out of the country. Continue reading
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The problem of “enemy” war brides was eloquently addressed in the British drama Frieda. In her English-language film debut, Mai Zetterling plays the title character, the German wife of RAF officer Robert (David Farrar). Though an avowed anti-Nazi, Frieda faces acrimony and prejudice when introduced to Robert’s friends and family. The problem is exacerbated by the arrival of her brother Ricky (Albert Levien), ostensibly a conscript in the Polish army but actually an unregenerate disciple of Hitler. A satisfactory ending is reached only when everyone-Ricky included-learns to stop hating and to bury the past. Based on a play by Ronald Miller, Frieda was released in the US by Universal, shorn of but one minute of its original running time. Continue reading