Roberto Rossellini

Paisà 26 May 06

Section: rossellini

Categories: Film / in-a-cinema

Through six segments over three reels, this film circles in on the paisanos of the country and of WWII in Italy, who towards the end increasingly become partigiani, partisans.

The film starts with the Allied forces’ invasion of Sicily and follows the collapse of the Nazi presence upwards, north, towards final battles along the Po River.

Diverse characters are presented sympathetically, without stereotyping: Italian peasants, U.S. GIs, German soldiers, monks, priests and a rabbi.

What I felt most strongly was the strong pull towards the resistance as the film developed. One moving passage was when an American nurse, Harriet, finds out that a partisan leader she knew well had been wounded. She took leave from her work at a hospital and set out to find him through territory occupied by the Nazis. She spoke fluent Italian, by the way. During conversation with some partisans she encountered, she learned that he had died of his wounds. This scene was beautifully done, with the two characters sitting in the doorway of a bombed out building with rays of the sun cast upon them as tears well in her eyes.

  • Title: Paisà
  • Directed by: Roberto Rossellini
  • Writing credits: Sergio Amidei, Klaus Mann, Federico Fellini, Marcello Pagliero, Alfred Hayes, Roberto Rossellini, Annalena Limentani (English dialogue), Vasco Pratolini
  • Starring: Carmela Sazio, Dotts Johnson, Maria Michi, Dale Edmonds, Renzo Avanzo, Gar Moore, Carla Pisacane, Alfonsino Pasca, Robert Van Loon, Harold Wagner, William Tubbs, Raymond Campbell, Mats Carlson, Merlin Berth, Leonard Penish, Harriet Medin, Benjamin Emanuel
  • Cinematography: Otello Martelli
  • Year: 1946
  • Cinema: Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt