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Doug C

Roberto Rossellini retrospective

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THE CINEMA OF INTELLIGENCE: A CENTENARY RETROSPECTIVE OF THE FILMS OF ROBERTO ROSSELLINI

"He is the father of us all." - Martin Scorsese

"I must tell you that the Italian films I love the most are those of Rossellini." - Bernardo Bertolucci

"Rossellini must be accorded the top position in the Italian cinema." - Andrew Sarris

"Even in his most profane subjects he is the most, perhaps the sole, indisputably religious author that cinema, that the entire art of the twentieth century has known." - Eric Rohmer

"The audience should be aware that, with the comprehensive Godard retrospective we presented in 2001-2002 and the complete Bresson retrospective we organized and toured in 1998, this has been the most arduous series we have ever prepared. This will be your only opportunity to see many of these films, which have become legendary in their absence." --Cinematheque Ontario

Cinematheque Ontario: October 20 - December 10

MoMA: November 15 - December 22

Dates to be announced for Los Angeles, London, and elsewhere.

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Links to threads on The Flowers of St. Francis (1950), The Messiah (1976) and My Dad Is 100 Years Old (2005).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'm so jealous, Matt; I just hope Acts of the Apostles plays in Los Angeles.

I'd also recommend his film on Pascal and presumably Augustine, although I haven't seen the latter. Blaise Pascal is a fascinating and penetrating examination of the relationship between rationality and faith. Both are extremely rare films.

And of course, I'd highly recommend his early neorealist films, and especially his Ingrid Bergman trilogy.

Personally, I'm most excited to see his renowned and rare documentary, India, Mother Land. Again, I'm not sure how much of the retrospective will make it to Los Angeles, but I've got my fingers crossed.

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Incidentally, the Cinematheque Ontario has put the whole series in html now. Here's the description for AotA:

"One of the three best of Rossellini's television films" (Adriano Apr

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I recently read a more in depth analysis of it in a book on Rossellini from the 70s (as it pre-dates Il Messia). I think it was the Guarner one. It was as research for this article on my blog. I didn't glean that much that was relevant to that article, so just posted the following (plus a pic):

The other is Roberto Rosellini’s Atti Degli Apostoli which at 5 hours and 42 minutes is almost twice as long as any of the other films. Given that runtime, and since it also downplays the supernatural events recorded in Acts one would expect it to give a good amount of time to these events, and indeed it does. Almost all of the "fourth chapter" is given over to the Council of Jerusalem.

BTW, I'm not entirely sure we are going to get this film either. I just assumed that the whole thing was going to all locations

Matt

Edited by MattPage

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Oh, I'm sure the National Film Theatre will show them all--it's pretty complete when it does its retrospectives. UCLA Archives, on the other hand, tends to only show about half to 2/3 of what these larger venues program for month-long runs.

That Guarner book is a real treasure, even though it's small--the whole Praeger series is classic; I've picked up quite a few of them at used bookstores over the years.

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: Martin Scorsese watched ACTS OF THE APOSTLES in preparation for making THE LAST TEMPTATION

: OF CHRIST, and is a great admirer of the film.

Interestingly, the IMDB notes that Scorsese was married to Rossellini's daughter Isabella between 1979 and 1983 -- and 1983 was around the time Last Temptation's plug was pulled at Paramount, right?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Found my Rossellini book, and it was the Guarner one. FWIW I also have the Eisenstein one from this series (and could have got the GOddard one cheap as well. A decision I will no doubt rue one day)

Was this on a post at Film Journey at some point? I could have sworn I read about it first there, but I searched in vain for it this morning.

Matt

Edited by MattPage

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FWIW, the London Showings start on Sunday (6th) of May with Open City and an interview with Isabella Rossellini.

Il Messia and Atti degli apostoli are playing in the second half of June. Details of times are not yet on the web site (unless you go through the ticket booking process), but I have the print version of their June Guide and have posted the times on my blog.

If you want details of any other films let me know.

Doug,

I'm also keen to get another book on Rossellini that will hopefully cover both films. Any recommendations? I was thinking of the Bondanella and Carney one.

Matt

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Week before this last one, I was in New York City (for the first time - wow!). Final day, visited MoMA. The main draw, two film-related shows; Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker and Rossellini On Paper, the latter having been assembled in conjunction with the Rossellin retro. Really enjoyed both.

A description of the latter;

This exhibition of posters, family photographs, and correspondence documenting the career of Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini draws from the collections of Martin Scorsese, Wesleyan University, and the Museum's Department of Film and Media. It surveys the graphic presentation of his work internationally, and provides a rare glimpse into his creative process and offscreen life. Rossellini on Paper is held in conjunction with the film exhibition Roberto Rossellini.

One photo I particularly enjoyed showed Roberto dressed Italian chic in the middle of a clutch of Franciscan monks on the set of FRANCESCO. Made me chuckle. I especially enjoyed the poster, some of them very large and graphically interesting, some with wonderfully lurid "pulp fiction" taglines. (I took a few surreptitious photos that didn't turn out very well. If I get time, I'll post them on my blog.) But best of all was the actual telegram from Rossellini to Ingrid Bergman replying to her request to appear in one of his films, and the letter which followed proposing STROMBOLI - in which the film maker's earnest spiritual intent is so clear. I wonder if that letter is reproduced anywhere, in any of the Rossellini books? I so wanted a copy of it.

Apparently one of the STROMBOLI posters is from the personal collection of Martin Scorsese, so there was another connection to movieland that I wasn't aware of while at the gallery.

How I wish the Rossellini retrospective would come to Vancouver!

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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This seems a good enough place to mention that on Saturday I watched Germany Year Zero for the first time, and, as I mentioned on Twitter, that film is so great it made me wonder if we even need any more films, because surely that one is enough. At the risk of damaging my cinephile cred, I've always appreciated the classics of Italian Neo-Realism without really loving any one of them. I don't know if I've grown into a different type of viewer, or if I just needed to see Germany Year Zero to connect, but this film absolutely crushed me.

Edited by Darren H

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This seems a good enough place to mention that on Saturday I watched Germany Year Zero for the first time, and, as I mentioned on Twitter, that film is so great it made me wonder if we even need any more films, because surely that one is enough. At the risk of damaging my cinephile cred, I've always appreciated the classics of Italian Neo-Realism without really loving any one of them. I don't know if I've grown into a different type of viewer, or if I just needed to see Germany Year Zero to connect, but this film absolutely crushed me.

I did a week where I watched the whole war trilogy last year. "Crushed" is a good way to put it.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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I've always said I like Polanski's The Pianist because of one shot: the camera cranes up, over a wall, and in an instant reveals the devastation of the ghettos. When I saw it in the theater, I remember thinking, "Okay, the awe-striking affect of this shot is Polanski's way of saying that the Holocaust can't really be shown or understood." I think of it as his pile of shoes (from Resnais's Night and Fog).

Spending 80 minutes in post-war Berlin, and having that experience filtered through Rossellini's genius, was too much to take in. And I really mean that. I don't think my mind ever quite accepted that I was looking at actual rubble and actual people trying to survive in that actual rubble.

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It's funny you should mention that shot from The Pianist in connection with GYZ, Darren. I rewatched The Best Years of Our Lives again this weekend, and I was reminded of just that moment from Polanski's film when Dana Andrews' character wanders into the airfield full of junked planes. Wyler's camera cranes up and pulls out to reveal rows and rows of these empty, decaying bombers. It offers something of a different effect than Polanski's shot or basically all of GYZ does, but the starting point--a post-WWII "rubble" shot--is the same.


All great art is pared down to the essential.
--Henri Langlois

 

Movies are not barium enemas, you're not supposed to get them over with as quickly as possible.

--James Gray

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Darren, I though Mike H. had written some fine things about Rossellini during his rubble cinema kick a few years back. Some of it is here, but I thought there was more elsewhere.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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It's funny you should mention that shot from The Pianist in connection with GYZ, Darren. I rewatched The Best Years of Our Lives again this weekend, and I was reminded of just that moment from Polanski's film when Dana Andrews' character wanders into the airfield full of junked planes. Wyler's camera cranes up and pulls out to reveal rows and rows of these empty, decaying bombers. It offers something of a different effect than Polanski's shot or basically all of GYZ does, but the starting point--a post-WWII "rubble" shot--is the same.

That BEST YEARS shot was itself almost certainly a callout to GONE WITH THE WIND, the pullback of Scarlett seeing endless wounded and dead bodies, ending on a tattered Confederate flag.


Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

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That BEST YEARS shot was itself almost certainly a callout to GONE WITH THE WIND, the pullback of Scarlett seeing endless wounded and dead bodies, ending on a tattered Confederate flag.

Now that makes for an interesting comparison--the losing, fallen soldiers of the confederacy with the winning, though now empty planes of WWII.


All great art is pared down to the essential.
--Henri Langlois

 

Movies are not barium enemas, you're not supposed to get them over with as quickly as possible.

--James Gray

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I totally would've made that Gone with the Wind connection except that, um, I've never seen Gone with the Wind.

You know, I only just got around to seeing it this past fall. Let me say I was quite glad that I did before I saw DJANGO UNCHAINED. It is the myth that DJANGO wants to shatter, even more so than BOAN.

Now let me make the connection full circle: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS makes a lot more sense in the context of ROME, OPEN CITY.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Our very own kenmorefield has an article at CT Movies today on 'Roberto Rossellini and the "Moral Point of View"'.

I have to ask, though, if an article that emphasizes "morality" in its headline can actually refer to Rossellini's link to Ingrid Bergman in the very first sentence *without* mentioning the career-killing (temporarily, for Bergman) scandal that was caused by their affair.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Curious to hear what others are thinking now about Germany Year Zero, as it looks like we have not discussed it for a while. Struck this time by the narrative convention in which this young boy follows the advice of both fathers in the film, both times to tragic effect. He follows his father figure's (a proxy for der fuhrer) advice about abandoning the weak. He follows his actual father's advice about embracing death as an escape.

Apparently, once per decade is a good schedule for watching GYZ.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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