rome-open-city-roma-citta-aperta-dec-11thRossellini came to the forefront of post-WW2 Italian cinema and the neorealist movement by using the bombed and war-torn Rome as the backdrop to this seminal film. It tells the story of lovers Pina (Anna Magnani) and Francesco (Francesco Grandjacquet), who are about to be married. Francesco and the priest Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi) are called upon to assist the resistance. Lives are put in peril and loyalties are tested, and the violence of the Nazi occupation is made clear. “A landmark of Italian neorealism often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Rossellini’s portrait of life under the Nazi Occupation remains remarkable for its sheer immediacy, tension and power” – Geoff Andrew, BFI. (Cert 12A)
Dir: Roberto Rossellini 103 mins Italy/Ger 1945

to be shown with I AM A LITTER BASKET (Cert U) 7 min

Programme Notes

Rome, Open City
Italy/Germany 1945 103m Cert 12A

Rome, Open City (Roma, Citta Aperta) is an anti-Fascist drama by Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977), a monument of Italian cinema, father of Isabella Rossellini and one-time husband of Ingrid Bergman. Son of a Roman cinema owner, Rossellini, in addition to directing 50 films, had 46 writing credits and 11 production credits to his name across his career.

Shot in 1945 on the streets of Rome, Roma, Citta Aperta was the first of Rossellini’s so-called neo-realist films, characterised by their historical immediacy, on-location shooting and strong social message.

Raw from the Nazi occupation which had finished only a year earlier, Roma, Citta Aperta won various awards and can be seen as a history of the Roman people under the occupation. So as to portray the poverty and hardships of the time, mostly non-professional actors were used. Moreover, scenes were often improvised depending on the situation and mood of the moment of Rossellini and his cast.

Crudely shot in documentary style due to the circumstances, the film had to be finished using discarded US Army film stock. It can be considered a piece of cinematic history in its own right.

“Catholicism infuses the (whole) scenario, showing how faith can overcome and defeat the most evil enemy” Steven Yates, Eye for Film

Don Pietro Pellegrini – Alberto Fabrizi
Pina – Anna Magnani
Georgio Manfredi – Marcello Pagliero
Piccolo Marcello – Vito Annachiarico
Agostino the Sexton – Nando Bruno

Director – Roberto Rossellini
Producers – Guiseppe Amato, et al (uncredited)
Screenplay – Sergio Amidei
Cinematography – Ubaldo Arata
Original Music – Renzo Rossellini
Screenplay collaborators – Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini

To be shown with I am A Litter Basket
Britain 1959 7m Cert U
Director – James Ritchie
Cinematography – David Watkin
Editor – Hugh Raggett

The first of three titles from the British Transport Films archive to be screened during the 2014/2015 season.
“BTF productions are not merely captivating pieces of nostalgia but acclaimed examples of film-making. The accolades bestowed upon them include an American Academy Award, several British Film Academy Awards and the Golden Lion from Venice. Edgar Anstey (producer in charge) strove for technical excellence and sought only the very best of up-and-coming talent, nurturing it alongside the most acclaimed creative talents of the day, including such notables as Sir John Betjeman, Michael Redgrave, Arnold Bax and Ralph Vaughan-Williams. A glance at the films’ credits reveals such names as John Schlesinger and David Watkin”




“Very instructive”

“Well-made public service film with a real fun element”


“Good. Were litter louts worse then than now?”

“An information film with an identity crisis. It wanted to get its message across but ended up like an ott escapade for Dr Who.”

“A comical slapstick film with an early ‘eco’ message. Also possibly the first time for an early incarnation of the Daleks!”

“Perhaps the waste baskets were proto-Daleks.”

ROME, OPEN CITY (feature)

“A raw and powerful evocation of the time”

“A very powerful film”

“Nothing changes – happened in the USA after 9/11 and continues world wide. It was good to be reminded of that by this excellent film.”

“A grim reminder”

“Intelligent and moving, if sometimes a little didactic – but the music was awful and the subtitles in short supply.”

“A rewarding experience, once one got over the ageing technical aspects. The political/historical background (of the film) was its saving grace and made it a rather good introduction to all things Rossellini.”

“I am dumbstruck!”

“Too many terrible memories for me!”

“Poor quality print and soundtrack but a compelling story of great courage. Nevertheless, a whitewash concerning the role of the Catholic church – a very Catholic-biased treatment.”

“Started slowly but speeded up to a terrific finale.”

“Stereotyped and melodramatic interesting times, though!”

“A more un-Germanic head of Gestapo I’ve yet to see – and hope I never see another!”

“Could have been a good film but for the appallingly bad soundtrack!”


A:15, B:15, C:1, D:2, E:1 to give 80%