Rome, Open City [DVD] 
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Roberto Rossellini directs this 1940s drama about the last days of the Nazi occupation of Italy during World War II. Resistance leader Giorgio Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero) flees the Gestapo and seeks a place to hide with the help of his friend Francesco (Francesco Grandjacquet), his pregnant fiancée Pina (Anna Magnani) and the priest who is due to marry them, Don Pietro Pellegrini (Aldo Fabrizi). Giorgio's ex-girlfriend Marina (Maria Michi) betrays him and his fellow fighters to the Gestapo in order to get her hands on some luxury items and it's not long before the Nazis and the local police find him and Don Pietro. They are captured and tortured but will they crack under the pain or be executed for their silence?
Rossellini's study of resistance, shot in war-ravaged Rome in 1945, is a masterpiece.***** --Mark Kermode, Observer
A thrillingly real drama about events fresh in the mind. ***** --Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
Robert Rossellini's post-war melodrama is an uncompromising vision of a proud city in desperate times. ***** --Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Your review of the Region 2 DVD release of ROME, OPEN CITY (S&S JULY) fails to note some significant differences between it and the previously available VHS edition on Connoisseur.
This DVD release is remarkably similar to that currently available in the US, with all its faults. Its opening title card is the US-inspired OPEN CITY, not ROMA CITTA APERTA, nor is it laid over Rossellini's famous vista of the city with the prominent dome of St. Peter's and Rossellini's dedication. This is no mere detail, as the long shot of the city acts as a bookending device and gives weight to the resigned march of the urchins back to the city at the end of the picture. Moreover, a significant cut is made during Manfredi's torture scene which is present in the original European print as reproduced on the Connoisseur video. This cut significantly undermines the power of the sequence and its redemptive ending.
In short, this new release does not do justice to Rossellini's original. Until such time as a more complete original version is available, your readers should be aware of flawed attempts to present this great film's release on DVD as definitive."
"Roma, citta aperta" is seen as the birth of neorealist cinema - a form characterised by its humanism and attempt to deliver social reality, using authentic locations, handheld cameras, available light, and 'natural' performances from a largely amateur cast. It was the first in Rosselini's trilogy ("Rome, Open City", "Paisàn", and "Germany, Year Zero") exploring the effects of war, and is widely regarded both as his masterpiece and as a pillar of post-War European cinema.
Conceived and begun during the German occupation, while Rossellini was himself in hiding, "Rome, Open City" is set in Nazi-ruled Italy. It takes the camera out of the studio and onto the streets, capturing graphic, near documentary images and transporting the viewer into a world which is apparently real. There is none of Hollywood's glitz and glamour, here, but raw life and bitter social commentary.
German soldiers search for a resistance leader who had fought the Fascists in Spain and who has gone on to organise the underground in Italy. Lest we see this as a tale of good versus evil, Rossellini presents a naturalistic world of Rome, rife with black marketeers, food shortages, exploitation and manipulation, collaboration, and a priest who is evidently not enamoured of the Fascists and who is prepared to work with the communist resistance to defeat what he perceives as the greater evil.Read more ›
I've read a lot about Roberto Rossellini as I am in the middle of reading Ingrid bergman's autobiography, and I've read Isabella rossellini's first part of her autobiography. this film is everything it is cracked up to be, very moving and involving. the only problem I have with it is the way two of the german officers are portrayed as more evil than their counterparts because they are gay or seem to be. I realise this is a sign of the times in a way, but I've experienced this hatred close to home and it makes you despair at people's lack of humanity sometimes.
anyway, watch this film, it will be worth your while. the English subtitles can be supplemented by the intelligent but accessible commentary than runs alongside them. this one is staying in my collection.
Rossellini's tale of a war torn city under occupation, as the local resistance force struggles against the Nazis, is hardly original fare (great films on similar themes set in Morocco, France and Poland spring immediately to mind), but Rome, Open City is notable for its unflinching, even brutal, treatment of the horrors of war. This is a city in which black market operation (storming the bakery for much needed supplies) is big business and where the local populace dream of the arrival of the Americans, but also where their Nazi (and Italian collaborating) oppressors will frequently resort to torture to obtain details on Rome's resistance groups.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rather strange concept well filmed . It make me consider who are those Bad guys?Published 14 months ago by Zdenek Hanzlik
A classic film. Worth watching. Arrives on time, good condition etc.Published 21 months ago by Senior spacegirl
Awesome film, I really enjoyed it. Quick delivery and the item was in perfect condition.Published 23 months ago by V. streymoy
Very much enjoyed this movie. It captured the reality of what was happening in Rome at the time of its occupation by the GermansPublished on 5 May 2014 by Woodpecker
For me, it was a little unclear at the beginning as to who was who and what was supposed to be happening. Read morePublished on 27 April 2014 by KateK