2022 Blind Spot Series: Rome, Open City
What I knew going in: That Anna Magnani gives an excellent performance.
During Nazi occupation of Rome, a resistance leader Giorgio (Marcello Pagliero) attempts to hide with his friend Francesco (Francesco Grandjacet) and his soon to be wife, Pina. (Anna Magnani) Meanwhile, we also check on his ex lover Marina ( Maria Michi) and a helpful priest, Don Pietro (Aldo Fabritzi) who believes it's the Godly thing to help the resistance.
Rome, Open City was never on my radar until I watched a video from the lovely Be King Rewind on Anna Magnani. Seeing it was available on HBO Max, it easily became part of my Blind Spot list.
This film is BLEAK. How could it not be? It's about the Nazi occupation, but somehow I was still caught off guard by how relentless this movie is. It's dreadfully sad, but also incredibly brave. Director Roberto Rossellini started shooting this 2 months after the Nazis left Rome in 1944. The time this was made makes it feel more urgent and dangerous. These people lived through this, and now they're documenting it for the world to see the atrocities committed.
Like BKR pointed out, Magnani is tremendous, but so it Fabritzi. Aside from her, he gave my other favorite performance. Everyone here is good, but those two especially.
If I had to critique one thing, it was that I occasionally found the story hard to follow, particularly when we would go to Marina's story. She felt so disconnected from everything at first that I wondered why we were spending so much time with her. It makes sense in the end, but it still felt a bit odd.
I'm glad I watched this, and if you have access to HBO Max and have never seen it, you should too!