Francesco, Giullare di Dio (The Little Flowers of St. Francis). 1950. Italy. Directed by Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini (b. Italy, 1906–1977) is a key artist of the mid-twentieth century whose contribution to cinema—particularly in his stunning adaptations of Neorealist strategies (Rome Open City [1945], Paisan [1946])—is inestimable and whose influence on other directors, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Martin Scorsese, is profound. Over his forty-year career Rossellini’s films took several broad turns, from his Neorealist masterworks of war and its immediate aftermath to the extraordinary melodramas he made with Ingrid Bergman to “didactic” works made for television about men whose ideas altered the course of civilization (Jesus, Socrates). Rossellini’s films are characterized by their inflection of “actuality” (shooting on location and casting everyday people alongside professional actors), recognition of the mystery of human behavior, belief in spiritual transcendence, and desire to stimulate audiences’ curiosity. All films directed by Rossellini and from Italy, unless otherwise noted.

Co-organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film; and James Quandt, Senior Programmer, Cinematheque Ontario, Toronto.

Roberto Rossellini is presented in collaboration with Cinecitta Holding and Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and is made possible by generous grants from Fendi and Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro. Additional support is provided by The Italian Cultural Institute (New York) and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency. Presented with the support of the Cineteca Nazionale (Rome), the Menil Collection (Houston), National Film and Television Archive (London), Kino International (New York), Harvard Film Archive, Swedish Film Archive, New Yorker Films, Miramax Films, The Criterion Collection, Kramsie (Gibraltar), Tag Gallagher, and Martin Scorsese.

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