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 , Paisan )—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.