Arlecchino Cinema > 11:00


Roberto Rossellini
Introduced by

Paolo Mereghetti


Friday 03/07/2015


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Europe was still covered in rubble when Rossellini, after shooting Germany, Year Zero amongst the wreckage of Berlin, turned his camera on postwar Rome. He had just lost a son, which we can feel in the German film as in Europa ’51; the war victims dearest to him were children – they feature in the ending of Rome, Open City and are the future. Europa ’51 is a voyage through a middle-class Rome, a political Rome, a proletarian (with the factory) and underclass (with the slums) Rome, of which his friend Fellini’s La dolce vita could be considered a more ‘bourgeois’ remake with a male lead, without dramatic decisions and solutions and when the postwar period was long over. During the preparation of his film, Rossellini – with a timing demonstrating his intelligence and cultural maturity – declared he was inspired by Simone Weil, who was very little known in Italy aside from the group around Adriano Olivetti. From here the radical path of a director who at that time was the most radical of all. With the assistance of an Ingrid Bergman as confused as her Irene: with a beginning that destroys her middle-class security and ways (her son’s suicide for which she feels guilty), her inner turmoil and her search for a reason for living all lead her to meeting eye to eye with the messages of Catholicism-Christian Democracy and communism, each with equal dissatisfaction. Neither convince her; both shirk the issue, which, in the end, is discovering the other, the poor, the outcast, the marginalized and offering them solidarity and comfort, yesterday, today and always. For this reason society forces Irene into a mental hospital. This is perhaps the most beautiful of Rossellini’s beautiful films, of his masterpieces; Europa ’51 is undoubtedly the most political movie made by this director, whose inspiration would later be limited by his political shrewdness. It was a masterpiece that Italy at that time deserved, but not the critics and ideologues who wrote about his cinematic work.

Goffredo Fofi

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Roberto Rossellini. Scen.: Roberto Rossellini, Sandro De Feo, Mario Pannunzio, Ivo Perilli, Brunello Rondi. F.: Aldo Tonti. M.: Jolanda Benvenuti. Scgf.: Virgilio Marchi. Mus.: Renzo Rossellini. Int.: Ingrid Bergman (Irene Girard), Alexander Knox (George Girard), Sandro Franchina (Michel, loro figlio), Ettore Giannini (Andrea Casati), Giulietta Masina (Giulietta detta ‘Passerotto’), Teresa Pellati (Ines), Marcella Rovena (signora Puglisi), Tina Perna (Cesira), Maria Zanoli (signora Galli), William Tubbs (prof. Alessandrini). Prod.: Ponti-De · DCP.