Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on June 30, 2012 at 4:10 PM

PAISAN   ***1/2

Roberto Rossellini


IDEA:  Different parts of Italy during the waning days of WWII are seen through the eyes of Italians and their American liberators.

BLURB:  One-upping Rome, Open City in narrative ambition, scope, and sociopolitical reach, the second film in Rossellini’s War Trilogy is a fascinating cross section of Italy in the final years of World War II, seen in six disparate yet thematically unified episodes. Each sequence, which in some way revolves around the kinship between Italians and their American liberators, stands well on its own. They range from tragic to deeply comical, bittersweet to genial, rousing to transcendent, mini-movies in their own right that pack amazing amounts of power into rather brief 20 minute blocks. When they’re put together, however, they make up something quite a bit greater: a tapestry of intense humanism, of alliance, fraternity, and understanding in the face of cynicism, disillusionment, and miscommunication. Rossellini shows how war is not something that can simply come and go, but an undulating, enduring instrument of terror that can either keep us apart, or better, force us together.

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