Rossellini’s indelible career flagged in the late 1950s for a variety of complicated reasons, and after directing commercial films and an episode in Rogopag (1962) he abandoned cinema for television. Twelve years later and near the end of his life he returned to movie-making with this film. It’s a biopic of the postwar Christian Democrat leader, Alcide De Gaspari (Vannucchi), who was responsible for keeping the Communists out of power in the years that followed the fall of fascism. An extension of Rossellini’s documentary and historical reconstruction films, this failed both critically and commercially.
Rossellini’s return to the cinema after twelve years working for television: a sympathetic, idealised – and almost universally reviled – portrait of Italy’s postwar statesman Alcide De Gasperi (played by Vannucchi), the Christian Democrat leader who successfully kept the Communists out of the government, it is indeed hard to swallow. Its flaw is obvious: from 1945’s chaos through anti-Communist coalitions, the historical realities are too close to bear De Gasperi’s saint-like depiction. Its major saving irony is that it shows the conditions for historical choices in a much more illuminating light than its reactionary ticket would allow. So, although by no means the best, it’s the most provocative of Rossellini’s historical biographies, looking suspiciously like a triumph for the devil’s advocate.
2.06GB | 1h 58mn | 762×572 | mkv