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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 1947 Academy Award Best Writing Screenplay Nominees • Rome, Open City

Rome, Open City

“We're fighting for something that has to be, that can't help coming. The road may be long and hard, but we'll get there and we'll see a better world. And our children especially will see it.”

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, But This Movie Sure Was

Rome, Open City is adapted from a book of true stories about living through the Nazi occupation. Co-writer and director Roberto Rossellini took these tales of survival and wove them into a gripping drama about the Italian resistance. Filmed using non-professional actors and real Roman locations, the movie has a gritty, documentary feel. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our series on the nominees of the 1947 Academy Awards for ‘Best Writing, Screenplay’ with Rossellini’s iconic 1945 film Rome, Open City.

Reel Talk on Real Life

We unpack this landmark of Italian neorealism that was filmed on the war-torn streets of Rome just months after the Nazi occupation ended. The filmmakers wanted to capture the rawness of life during wartime. Iconic scenes like Pina’s death as she runs after the Nazi truck became cinematic landmarks. The movie birthed a whole movement in Italian neorealism.

Women Navigating Impossible Choices
Pina, played unforgettably by Anna Magnani, is the fiancée of resistance fighter Francesco. Her violent death scene is one of the film’s most wrenching moments. Dancer Marina gets caught up spying for the Nazis in exchange for drugs and fur coats. We see how she becomes compromised and is discarded when no longer useful. German officer Ingrid manipulates Marina through addiction. She represents the female face of Nazi villainy and moral corruption.

War’s Impact on the Next Generation
The tragedy of the film is how war devastates the lives of children like Pina’s son and the street boys who witness Pietro’s death. Yet the image of these boys resolutely marching back into the city provides a hopeful note that the youth may lead Italy to a better future.

Enduring Classic Is Born
Rome, Open City packs an emotional punch that holds up decades later. It’s essential viewing for anyone interested in Italian cinema or World War II stories. This landmark film demonstrates how constraints can breed art and truth. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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