The experience of war as it is presented throughout the history of Italian
cinema is a uniquely composite display of historical reverence and cultural
consecration. An analysis of this experience in all of its manifestations can be
discerned from the evaluation of one or several works from the post-World
War II period within the corpus of the Italian cultural signification. It follows
from this approach that the essence of the results of this analysis will then
represent an appreciative grasp of the aforementioned corpus. The war
experience in Italian film can be succinctly considered through a detailed
analysis of Rome, Open City (Roma, Città Aperta, Roberto Rossellini, 1945),
Salo: 120 Days of Sodom (Salò o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma, Pier Paolo
Pasolini, 1975), and Life is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella, Roberto Benigni, 1997).
Though all three films take place during roughly the same diegetic time period,
they are each separated in production and release date by up to 30 years.
There are countless differences among the films, including film style, genre,
origin of narrative, and theme. By comparing and contrasting the three
movies, an intimate portrait of the Italian war experience will be gathered.
Rome, Open City, one of the great symbols of Italian neorealist cinema,
was shot just after the German occupation of Italy ended. The story involves
Giorgio Manfredi, a member of the communist resistance of Nazi occupation,
who asks his friend’s wife (Pina) for help in hiding. Her priest, Don Pietro,
assists Manfredi in his stance against the fascists. The most gripping aspect
of this work is the style and technique with which the film was made.
Incorporating on-location shoo...
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and domination, and the irreversibility of its consequences.
Bondanella, Peter. ”Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present. 3rd
edition.” New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing, 2001.
Forgacs, David. “Rome Open City.” London, England: BFI Publishing, 2000.
Friedrich, Pia. “Pier Paolo Pasolini.” Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1982.
Greene, Naomi. “Salo: The Refusal to Consume.” Pier Paolo Pasolini:
Contemporary Perspectives. Ed. Patrick Rumble and Bart Testa.
Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1994. 232-242.
Indiana, Gary. “Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom.” London, England: BFI
Marcus, Millicent. “Italian Film in the Light of Neorealism.” Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1986.
Rohdie, Sam. “The Passion of Pier Paolo Pasolini.” London, England: Indiana
University Press, 1995.
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