Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini was an Italian film director and screenwriter, becoming one of the most important filmmakers of the Italian neorealism movement. Born in Rome, Rossellini lived on the Via Ludovisi, where his father built the very first movie theater, the Barberini. Rossellini started frequenting the cinema at an early age, and after his father died Rossellini worked all the accessory jobs related to the creation of a film, gaining competence in each field. Some authors describe Rossellini’s career as a sequence of trilogies. Rossellini’s first feature film was sponsored by the audiovisual propaganda center of Navy Department and was the first of his Rossellini’s Fascist Trilogy. During this period he began a friendship and cooperation with director Federico Fellini and Aldo Fabrizi. The Fascist regime collapsed in 1943 and just two months after the liberation of Rome, Rossellini was already preparing the anti-fascist Rome, Open City (1945). Fellini assisted on the script and Fabrizi played the role of the priest, while Rossellini self-produced. Most of the money came from credits and loans, and film had to be found on the black market. Rome, Open City was an immediate success and is considered today as the quintessential example of the Italian neorealism movement. Rossellini had started his so-called Neorealist War Trilogy, the second title of which was Paisan (1946), produced with non-professional actors, and the third, Germany, Year Zero (1948), sponsored by a French producer and filmed in Berlin’s French sector. In 1948, Rossellini received a letter from actress Ingrid Bergman who stated that she saw his neorealist films and enjoyed them very much, proposing a collaboration between the two of them. With this letter began one of the best known love stories in film history, with Bergman and Rossellini both at the peak of their careers. Their first collaboration was Stromboli (1950), in which the two had an affair while filming, and Bergman became pregnant with Rossellini’s son. This affair caused a huge scandal in the United States (the two were both married to other people), where it led to Bergman returning to Italy, divorcing her husband, leaving her daughter and marrying Rossellini. Rossellini and Bergman had two more children while filming Europa ’51 (1952), and Journey to Italy (1953), which became Rossellini’s third trilogy. Rossellini’s films after his early neorealism films, particularly his films with Ingrid Bergman, were commercially unsuccessful, though Journey to Italy is regarded in some quarters. And yet he was an acknowledged master by the critics of Cahiers du Cinema, a filmmaker who became more and more unconventional, constantly experimenting with new styles and technical challenges, and who was in every sense of the word, “the father of the French New Wave.”



Roberto Rossellini
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Articles and Essays on Roberto Rossellini

Rome, Open City (1945)

Rome 1

“All roads lead to Rome, Open City,” said the great French director Jean-Luc Godard. Along with Vittoria De Sica’s masterpiece Bicycle Thieves, Rome, Open City is considered the quintessential example of the Italian neo realism movement. The great Italian director Roberto Rossellini created not only a film of such powerful documentary like realism but also a film that can be […]

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Roberto Rossellini

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