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When in Rome: Movies from the Italian Capital
Posted August 09, 2010 to photo album "When in Rome: Movies from the Italian Capital"
As part of Movie City Rome, Nick Dawson takes a trip through cinema history and examines the different ways filmmakers have portrayed the Italian capital on the big screen.
Slide 3: Open City (1945)
Roberto Rossellini’s Open City – made in 1944 just after the Nazis had been forced out of Rome – first introduced the world to Italian neorealism. Rossellini, along with co-writers Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidea, utilized the city to great effect in their tale of members of the Italian Resistance living under Nazi occupation. While interior scenes were shot on hastily created studio sets on the Via degli Avignonesi, Rossellini filmed on the streets as much as he could, on the Via Casilina and in the Piazza di Spagna. The scene where partisans protest the arrest of the two of the film’s central characters, Resistance leader Manfredi (Marcello Paliero) and Francesco (Francesco Grand-jacquet), the fiancé of the film’s heroine Pina (Anna Magnani), fittingly takes place in the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (also known as the Colosseo Quadrato, or “Square Collesseum”), a piece of architecture built by Mussolini to honor him and his fascist beliefs. Open City was released in Rome in September 1945 as the Italy’s capital still bore the scars of war; it went on to film the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival the following year, and was Oscar nominated for Best Screenplay in 1947.