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Alive and kicking
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Dubious filler


1946 / 120m - Italy
Drama, War
Paisan poster

A pretty decent film from Roberto Rossellini. WWII films aren't really my thing, I'm not big on Italian classics either, but because of the fragmented nature of this film it did manage to keep my interest for the full two hours. Some pretty pictures in between didn't make things worse either.

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The film consists of 6 segments, zooming in on smaller moments and issues faced by the allied forces as they push through Italy to free the country. The film spans 1.5 years and sees the soldiers try their best to work together with the locals, hoping to bring their mission to a good end.

Performances aren't that great and the soundtrack is far too overbearing. It kills the drama and works against the premise, which is a bit of a shame. I did like the structure, which kept things fresh and made the 2 hours much easier to bridge. The cinematography is pretty fine too, especially the outside scenes. Not great, but better than expected.

Big nopes

Journey to Italy

Viaggio in Italia
1954 / 85m - Italy
Drama, Romance
Journey to Italy poster

It is said that Rossellini was only interested in making a film about the Napoli region, the drama between Bergman and Sanders was merely an excuse to do some sightseeing at the major hotspots. Now, I've been to Napoli and the region is indeed a sight to behold, sadly Rossellini fails to do it justice.

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A big part of that is the grim and bleak black and white cinematography. It takes out all the life out of the area, a truly baffling choice. The camera work and editing are pretty poor too and the 4:3 ratio feels suffocating, especially when capturing a region that has such beautiful vistas. Based on this film, Napoli would be the last place I'd want to visit.

The drama is pretty dire too, with wooden performances, a lot of spiteful back-and-forths and a weird ending that feels incredibly forced and random. There's a lot of talk about history, death and memories, if that's your thing you might get something out of this, but that's just not my cup of tea. This was probably the worst vacation ad every shot.

Germany Year Zero

Germania Anno Zero
1948 / 78m - Germany
Drama, War
Germany Year Zero poster

This is Rossellini's third and final part in his war trilogy. The biggest difference with the previous two entries is that the film isn't set in Italy, instead, we move to Germany to explore the post-War situation. It's an interesting shift, at least on paper, I wish I could say the same about the actual film.

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We follow Edmund, a young boy who lives in a demolished country. His family has no money and no food, and the boys walks through the rubble of the city, hoping to find something to help his family. One day, he bumps into an old teacher, but this encounter will just make Edmund's life worse.

Italian neorealism set in Germany, that's what you should expect. The performances are weak, and the drama is sentimental (made worse by an overbearing soundtrack). Visually not much is happening either, and the ending lacks impact. The result is a pretty tepid film, at least it was pretty short.

Irritation overload

The Flowers of St. Francis

Francesco, Giullare di Dio
1950 / 85m - Italy
The Flowers of St. Francis poster

An Italian classic that takes the religious route. I'm not the biggest fan of Italian classic cinema, I'm even less of a fan of religion-themed cinema. Combine the two and you have a film that has little chance of succeeding, especially when it doesn't even bother with an actual plot.

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Rather than a coherent story, we get several vignettes depicting the lives of the original Franciscan monks. Morality lies at the basis of each segment, through which we learn about the order and its history. I will say that I had a hard time focusing during the second half, as this is a subject I really don't care much about.

The cinematography is bland, the performances are poor and the soundtrack doesn't really help the film forward. If you care two cents about religion and religion-infused morality there may something here for you, it just didn't interest me at all, and i'd had it with this film before reaching the halfway mark.

Open City

Roma, Città Aperta
1945 / 103m - Italy
Drama, War
Open City poster