The Rossellini Project
The Rossellini Project consists of 10 titles, which constitute the beating heart of the great director’s oeuvre: Rome, Open City, Paisà, Germany, Year Zero, L’amore, Stromboli, The Machine that Kills Bad People, Journey to Italy, Fear, India: Matri Bhumi and La forza e la ragione. With specific interventions towards stabilizing and cleaning the image and sound, the digital restoration effectuated by the Immagine Ritrovata laboratory has restored, to the greatest degree possible by modern-day digital techniques, the image and sound to the brilliance and richness of its initial condition, eliminating any imperfections caused by usage.
Thus, today, we are able to rediscover these films, which not only marked the birth and consecration of Neorealism and inspired the cinematographies of other countries and future generations, but also gave cinema an autonomy it did not have before, as well as the will and capacity to resemble life.
A founder of Italian neorealism, Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977) brought to filmmaking a documentary-like authenticity and a philosophical stringency. Son of a wealthy Roman architect, he spent his childhood watching movies in his father’s cinema. Early in his career, whilst making films under Mussolini’s fascist regime, he had been secretly taking footage of anti-Mussolini resistance fighters. He broke out with Rome Open City, a chronicle of the Nazi occupation of Rome, followed by Paisan and Germany Year Zero, which rounded out his “war trilogy.” Rossellini’s adulterous affair with Ingrid Bergman led to another trilogy – Stromboli, Europa ’51, and Voyage to Italy, all starring Bergman and all about spiritual crises. After conducting an affair with an Indian scriptwriter in 1957, Rossellini and Bergman parted. Throughout the 1950s, Rossellini experimented with different forms, offering an ascetic religious film (The Flowers of St. Francis), a documentary about India (India), and a wartime melodrama (Il Generale Della Rovere). In the final phase of his career, after announcing, “Cinema is dead,” Rossellini turned to historical television dramas. His last, controversial film was Il Messia, released in 1978.
The texts were taken from the catalogues of the Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival held by the Bologna Cinematheque.