Rome, Open City (Roma, Città Aperta) is a 1945 Italian neo-realist drama film directed by Roberto Rossellini. The picture features Anna Magnani (in her film debut), Aldo Fabrizi and Marcello Pagliero, and is set in Rome during the Nazi occupation in 1944.
The title refers to Rome being declared an open city after 14 August 1943. In war, an open city is a settlement which has announced it has abandoned all defensive efforts, generally in the event of the imminent capture of the city to avoid destruction of historic and cultural landmarks. Once a city has declared itself an open city, the opposing military will be expected to peacefully occupy the city rather than destroy it. In the case of Rome, while landmarks might have been saved, the battle continued between the Italian Resistance and the occupying German forces.
The film won several awards at various film festivals, including the most prestigious Cannes' Grand Prize, and was also nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar at the 19th Academy Awards. The most intriguing thing about this film is to watch the powerful and human performance by Anna Magnani in her first film role. Rossellini handled the grim subject of occupation well, with the occasional instances of comical Italian characters in awkward situations. It is also amazing to see an antifascist film made so close to the liberation of Italy in 1945. Many scenes show people living in partially bombed-out apartment blocks. If this film doesn't bring your pathos to the surface, nothing will.
I happened upon this film yesterday on one of my vintage film channels, but it was such a terribly fuzzy print that I went searching to find a better one... this YouTube print is impeccable.
Click the image below to watch the film...
For those who might have missed it, here is the best, un-edited live stream of Easter Mass at St. Peters Basilica with Pope Francis. There are overdubbed English translations. After the mass, the Pope gives his Urbi et Orbi (City and the World) message to all us.
The stark scenes of Pope Francis holding mass in an empty Basilica are very moving, reminding us of the crisis we all still have to get through.
Buona Pasqua, tutti.
Andrà tutto bene...
Click the video below to watch the Easter Mass at St. Peters Basilica
There are many of us that don't just drive to get from point A to point B. We drive just to drive. We might not even care about the mechanics of the beast firing all cylinders under our foot, but we care about the feel and exhilaration of driving. Driving is special when one finds a special road--curves, views, nature and the wheel in our hands in control of it all passing by. I've driven in many types of roads in many conditions... mountain roads, foggy roads, logging roads, cobblestone roads, from the streets of Manhattan and around the Étoile in Paris to the Alps, the Cote Azure and throughout Italy from North to South. But there was always one dream of mine: To drive the Amalfi Coast Road. But did the dream match up to the reality?
The video below illustrates the dream of every connoisseur of the art of driving... a cool sports car, preferably a convertible, speeding around curvy roads with amazing views. Little traffic, the road ahead is "mine". What a romantic ideal. A dream drive on one of the best driving roads in the world--the Amalfi Coast Road...
Now, as for the reality, check out the videos below. These show the real Amalfi Coast Road Experience. Part Paradise Part Hell. When the rare opportunity to "open it up" presents itself, you might get a 5 second burst of speed finding yourself jamming on the brakes as the next huge tour bus comes around the next bend, way over the center line. The scooters and cycles will pass you and anything else... but wait, they are not really passing... it seems that the line in the middle of the road (when one is there at all) is the dedicated two-wheeler lane. And although many parts of the road are too narrow for parking, the locals park there anyway, even if it brings the barely two lane width down to a single lane. Trucks and buses will make YOU back up. They take priority.
Then there are the cyclists and pedestrians talking up a valuable 4-5 feet on one side of the road, causing you frustrating minutes waiting for the opportunity to zoom around them only to have to jam on your breaks or shift down again as the next idiot comes around the next bend, as if it's a one lane road going only in his direction.
And if you go to the Amalfi Coast at any other time other than winter (November through early March), you will run into the tourists casually strolling through the narrow streets of each town you pass through. They even walk shoulder-to-shoulder through the many tunnels. Want to get away from the main road and climb up to the many villages dotted up near the Path of the Gods? You will experience some of the tightest switch-back road climbs, dotted with locals shopping, parked anywhere they please, with the occasional truck or donkey blocking your path. You might even run into a flock of sheep clogging the road.
Although incredibly beautiful, driving the Amalfi Coast Road is simply the most tense, frustrating drive you will ever make. One more thing... Italians pretty much ignore stop signs and traffic lights.
--Jerry Finzi, GVI
The video above is a 360 degree, interactive video.
Drag your mouse or cursor around to look to the side, front or behind as this driver maneuvers through the traffic.