Rome, Open City — ★★★★
Thanks to the Austin Film Society, I got to see Roberto Rossellini’s 1945 war drama Rome, Open City on the big screen last night. It was made during a very brief and specific window late in the war when the Germans, who had occupied Rome after Mussolini was overthrown and Italy made a separate peace with the Allies, retreated from the advancing Americans. Rossellini made the picture on the fly in the newly-liberated city while the war was still underway. His actors used SS uniforms which reportedly caused some confusion and alarm among Italian passers-by: were the Germans back, had Allied gains been reversed? Fortunately no, but the memory of the German occupation was still very fresh, and Rossellini recaptures the tension of it for this movie.