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.
Video introduction by Roberto Rossellini from 1963
Audio commentary featuring film scholar Peter Bondanella
Once Upon a Time . . . “Rome Open City,” a 2006 documentary on the making of this historic film, featuring rare archival material and footage of Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini, Ingrid Bergman, and many others
New video interviews with Rossellini scholar Adriano Aprà
Rossellini and the City, a new visual essay by film scholar Mark Shiel (Italian Neorealism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City) on Rossellini’s use of the urban landscape in the war trilogy
New video interview with film critic and Rossellini friend Father Virgilio Fantuzzi, who discusses the filmmaker and the role of religion in Rome Open City