Europa Cinema > 15:30


Roberto Rossellini

Introduction by Cinema Ritrovato Young with Emiliano Morreale


Sunday 25/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The patriotic myth presented in the film was one example of a very widespread production of such myths, to which many other neo-realist films and texts, as well as memoirs and historical records of the resistance, contributed. They all responded to a strong collective need to erase parts of the past, commemorate other parts, and produce a good memory of the war capable of expelling painful or traumatic memories […].
A film like Roma città aperta fits within this description of rhetoric in a number of ways. Its style is deliberately unadorned. It seeks to move its audience, to make them abhor evil and persuade them of the truth of what it narrates and the justice of a cause[…].
It also produced an account, of considerable historical value, of what it was like to live in the city under occupation and of how space and power interacted within it.

David Forgacs, Rome Open City (Roma città aperta), BFI, London 2000


The truth about Anna Magnani as   a creative artist can be traced in the characteristics of all personal and subjective stories, which, according to Roland Barthes, exist “in the signs of a personal story” and often take the form of “intimacy and signs of complicity”. In this case, between the actress and the audience’s gaze. This complicity can also be explained in terms of what the actress’s gestures add to the story of her character as it is described in the screenplay. The clearest example would be the way that Pina strokes her belly while confessing  to being pregnant before her marriage to Francesco in Roma città aperta. The screenplay   suggests   that   the dialogue should be accompanied by a gesture indicating shame; Anna Magnani’s hand gestures, on the other hand, endow this Catholic war widow with a sense of joy and desire typical of a woman in love. Such subtle shadings are essential to appreciate the story’s human and emotional range and, as a result, the sense of loss in the second half of the film after the character’s death. They are also significant for an analysis of the star’s acting style. This style does not depend solely on aesthetic or dramatic codes, but also on an ideological program. While the gesture constitutes a natural action performed by a character constructed in the screenplay according to a precise socio-cultural code, Anna Magnani’s performance becomes political, overwhelming and transformative.

Marga Carnicé Mur, La politica dell’attrice, in Effetto Magnani, edited by Giulia Carluccio, Federica Mazzocchi, Giulia Muggeo and Maria Paola Pierini, Cue Press, Imola 2022

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Sergio Amidei, Alberto Consiglio. Scen.: Sergio Amidei, Alberto Consiglio, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini. F.: Ubaldo Arata. M.: Eraldo Da Roma, Jolanda Benvenuti. Scgf.: Rosario Megna. Mus.: Renzo Rossellini. Int.: Anna Magnani (Pina), Aldo Fabrizi (don Pietro Pellegrini), Vito Annichiarico (Marcello), Nando Bruno (Agostino), Harry Feist (maggiore Bergmann), Francesco Grandjacquet (Francesco), Maria Michi (Marina Mari), Marcello Pagliero (ingegner Manfredi), Eduardo Passarelli (brigadiere metropolitano), Carlo Sindici (questore), Giovanna Galletti (Ingrid). Prod.: Excelsa Film. DCP. D.: 102’.