Poll

What's your favorite film by Roberto Rossellini?

Rome, Open City
10 (43.5%)
Paisan
1 (4.3%)
Germany Year Zero
1 (4.3%)
Stromboli
1 (4.3%)
The Flowers of St. Francis
2 (8.7%)
Europa '51
0 (0%)
Voyage to Italy
2 (8.7%)
Fear
0 (0%)
Il generale della Rovere
1 (4.3%)
Blackout in Rome
0 (0%)
The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
0 (0%)
Blaise Pascal
0 (0%)
The Age of the Medici
0 (0%)
Cartesius
0 (0%)
The Messiah
1 (4.3%)
haven't seen any
3 (13%)
don't like any
1 (4.3%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: Rossellini, Roberto  (Read 3557 times)

worm@work

  • Godfather
  • *****
  • Posts: 7454
Re: Director's Best: Roberto Rossellini
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2012, 11:25:26 PM »
The Flowers of St. Francis | 1950

Rossellini's film really deflects classification. It's not a biopic. In fact it actively avoids any biographical information whatsoever. Nor is it particularly interested in capturing what might be considered major events for the group or in presenting these monks or St. Francis as some sort of otherworldly godly figure. What it does instead is present a set of episodes that are only loosely connected but collectively capture the ethos of the Franciscans.

Most episodes are rather quotidian in nature depicting the monks humanism and their efforts at following Franciscan values that seem almost to be in contradiction in a world populated by humans. But rather than present these contradictions (and their resolution) as a struggle, as some kind of life-altering challenge, Rossellini films them with warmth and humor. Rather than focus on their hardships (which are absolutely present in the film), the film draws our attention to the joy, the delight, the freedom these monks experience in giving in to a life of utter humility and detachment from material objects.

What is most surprising about the film is that it's neither particularly religious (even though God is mentioned by St. Francis throughout) nor particularly philosophical in that it's not interested in investigating the whys and hows of the Franciscan way of life - not through dialogue anyway. Rather it merely presents a series of day to day actions that end up becoming a source of contemplation (for the monks) and an opportunity for the manifestation of grace.

One of my favorite vignettes (and one of the only ones that centers entirely around St Francis himself) is one in which we see Francis praying alone at night. His prayers are interrupted by a leper passing by. The scene is just about 5-7 minutes long. The scene is almost devoid of dialogue and opens and ends with the same line and near-identical shots. In both the opening and closing shot, Francis is lying prostate on the ground with tears in his eyes crying out to God, "My Lord, my God and my all". But between these two shots, Francis's prayer and faith have been changed indelibly by his encounter with the leper. The shot at the end is a much deeper, much more complex and fervent declaration of faith. It's a lovely lesson in purely visual storytelling. Rossellini doesn't just show us the two characters interacting but uses the space around them to delineate Francis's gradual acceptance of the leper and the strengthening of his faith. By the end the camera drifts higher, closer to the sky and whereas the vantage point for the opening shot was from up high drifting down, this time the camera moves up from the ground (from Francis) and the god he worships just for that instant becomes a character in the film.

One of the best films I've seen all year.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 09:30:03 PM by 1SO »

sdedalus

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 16586
  • I have a prestigious blog, sir!
    • The End of Cinema
Re: Director's Best: Roberto Rossellini
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2012, 02:07:30 AM »
I've been so close to watching that so many times.  Someday.
The End of Cinema

Seattle Screen Scene

"He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?"

MartinTeller

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 16918
  • martinteller.wordpress.com
    • my movie blog
Re: Director's Best: Roberto Rossellini
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2012, 03:07:04 AM »
I'm not crazy about Rossellini, but that's a pretty good one.  The lightness is very surprising.
Switchboard
Watched 2020

Top 250  |  Great  |  Good  |  Fair  |  PoorCrap

worm@work

  • Godfather
  • *****
  • Posts: 7454
Re: Director's Best: Roberto Rossellini
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2012, 08:56:26 AM »
The two I've seen (Voyage in Italy and The Flowers of St. Francis) both blew me away. So am really looking forward to more.

1SO

  • Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33720
  • Marathon Man
Rossellini, Roberto
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2014, 01:17:36 AM »
1. The Flowers of St. Francis
2. Europa '51
3. Stromboli
4. Paisan
5. India: Matri Bhumi
6. Fear

7. Journey to Italy
8. L'amore
9. Il generale della Rovere
10. Germany Year Zero
11. The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
12. Rome, Open City
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 02:11:24 PM by 1SO »
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25646
  • "Anime is for jerks."
    • Creative Criticism
Re: Director's Best: Roberto Rossellini
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2015, 02:40:58 PM »
The Flowers of St. Francis
Journey to Italy

Rome, Open City
Stromboli
Pasain

Fear
Germany Year Zero
"It's all research." -roujin

DarkeningHumour

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 10456
  • When not sure if sarcasm look at username.
    • Pretentiously Yours
Re: Director's Best: Roberto Rossellini
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2015, 04:09:22 AM »
1. Voyage to Italy
2. Stromboli
« Last Edit: August 29, 2015, 04:40:17 AM by DarkeningHumour »
Society is dumb. Art is everything. - Junior

https://pretensiouslyyours.wordpress.com/

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 28543
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Rossellini, Roberto
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2018, 12:35:03 PM »
This thread is super interesting. I just did his War Trilogy in my movie collection marathon and found them all to be great. I'm excited to see what else he can do. I wonder if I'll not like his later stuff, since there seem to be a lot of people who like either the earlier or the later movies but not both.

My ranking currently:
Rome, Open City: Asuperplus
Paisan: A-
Germany Year Zero: A+
Check out my blog of many topics

Im not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!

Knocked Out Loaded

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1790
  • I might remember it all differently tomorrow.
Re: Rossellini, Roberto
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2018, 03:02:49 AM »
Rome, Open City, 75
Germany Year Zero, 70
Extraordinary (81-100˚) | Very good (61-80˚) | Good (41-60˚) | Fair (21-40˚) | Poor (0-20˚)

1SO

  • Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33720
  • Marathon Man
Re: Rossellini, Roberto
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2018, 01:20:41 AM »
I have a theory on Rossellini, why he's revered and why he doesn't excite me.

In great storytelling (and all great art from song writing to painting) there's what's happening on the surface and what a song or painting or scene is really about. Rossellini uses this technique a lot, displaying great inner complexity while very little is actually happening. His famous Journey to Italy is about a couple on the brink of divorce, but it happens while they are seeing the sights. Each location is meant to mirror their fragile inner lives at the time.

I just watched Fear where Ingrid Bergman is being blackmailed for an affair. She works developing drugs and the project currently on the table matches her current psychological breakdown. Walking through the cages of mice, she's framed as if her head is in one of the cages, the unwilling subject of torment. They go fishing and when her husband hooks a big one, she sees herself as the one on his hook.

My problem is the exterior events are not interesting by themselves. They only work in tandem with the subtext. I can't call it a bad technique just because I don't like it. It's a variation on a main idea that melds Rossellini's Neorealist roots to some genre complexity. Just makes for some pretty boring films.

Ingrid Bergman's films with Rossellini have an awkwardness to them. She's a big Hollywood star and no amount of arthouse filmmaking can remove that. Her performance style is at odds with the Neorealism, unable to lose herself inside of a role (except for Autumn Sonata and The Visit.) You don't notice it mostly because she's such a great performer and the camera loves her. Bergman might've thought these non-Hollywod roles gave her a chance to do some 'real' acting, and there are plenty of silent close-ups to support that, but I'll trade every Rossellini film for froth like Stanley Donen's Indiscreet, which has the pleasure of watching Bergman cozy up to Cary Grant.
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

 

love