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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 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Ben-Hur (1925)
Slide 3: Open City (1945)
Slide 4: The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Slide 5: Roman Holiday (1953)
Slide 6: La Dolce Vita (1960)
Slide 7: Accattone (1961)
Slide 8: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Slide 9: Caro Diario (1993)
Slide 10: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Slide 11: Facing Windows (2003)
Slide 9: Caro Diario (1993)

Slide 9: Caro Diario (1993)

Acclaimed Italian auteur Nanni Moretti broke through as a force in international cinema when he won Palme D’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival for his documentary-style triptych Caro Diario (Dear Diary), a movie in which he appears as (a version of) himself. The first and third of the film’s chapters are set in Rome (the middle section takes place in the Aeolian Islands), but the first, entitled “On My Vespa,” showcases Moretti’s home city particularly vividly. In it, Moretti zips around a relatively empty Rome on his scooter – everybody is out of town on their summer vacation – going through the neighborhoods of Garbatella, Casalpalocco and Spinaceto. Filled with Moretti’s musings, this section is also about cinema and cinema-going: Moretti goes to the movies a number of times, including Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a film he dislikes so much that he personally tracks down the critic who recommended it, and bumps into Jennifer Beals just after he’s been thinking about Flashdance. The segment ends with Moretti’s pilgrimage to Ostia, an area on the outskirts of the city, and the now-overgrown field where Pier Paolo Pasolini (a kindred spirit of the similarly nonconformist Moretti) was assassinated in 1975. “Oddly, he never states why he wants to visit the site, or what he thinks or learns there; we simply regard the killing ground, and think our own thoughts,” wrote Roger Ebert in his review of the film.