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Roberto Rossellini: The War Trilogy

May 25 – 27

Roberto Rossellini’s films of the 1940s, Roma, città aperta, Paisà, and Germania anno zero — now generally referred to as a trilogy based on the Second World War — took audiences and critics by surprise. The Italian movie industry was completely devastated during the war. Casts, crews, and film stock were hard to find, but Rossellini, who had once made movies for Mussolini, wanted to push forward with a new project. His shooting started even before the Nazi occupiers had left. Using makeshift sets and virtually no budget to craft a narrative tale under severe conditions; incorporating newsreel footage and rough camera work; employing ordinary people as players — all were deemed radical gestures. Ultimately, Rossellini’s efforts supported the new, forceful, and influential postwar style, Italian neorealism. Special thanks to Film Forum, Cinecittà Luce, Cinecitta di Bologna, and the Italian Cultural Institute.

still from Rome, Open City
courtesy Photofest

Film programs

The National Gallery of Art’s film program provides many opportunities throughout the year to view classic and contemporary cinema from around the world.

View the current schedule here.

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