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Roberto Rossellini's: War Trilogy

The Criterion Collection

DVD | Box Set

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 26, 2010)
The Criterion Collection
$141.89 $119.92
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  • Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City / Paisan / Germany Year Zero) (The Criterion Collection)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Roberto Rossellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. And it was with his trilogy of films made during and after World War II ROME OPEN CITY, PAISAN, and GERMANY GROUND ZERO that he left his first transformative mark on cinema. With their stripped-down aesthetic, largely nonprofessional casts, and unorthodox approaches to storytelling, these intensely emotional works were international sensations and effectively launched the neorealist movement. Shot in battle-ravaged Italy and Germany, these three films are some of our most lasting, humane documents of devastated postwar Europe, containing universal images that encompass both tragedy and hope.

The Allies had barely driven the Nazis out of Rome when Roberto Rosselini went to work on Open City, considered by most to be his greatest work. Shot on bits and short ends of scavenged film, this film helped define Italian neorealism. Audiences were convinced that the actors were all amateurs (they weren't) and the whole film was improvised (it wasn't; the three screenwriters included Federico Fellini). With its semi documentary camera style and use of actual locations, the film does feel very real. Of course, so does the opening half-hour of Saving Private Ryan, and like that film Open City is at its heart a classic war yarn any Hollywood studio would feel at home with. The story involves members of the Italian underground trying to smuggle badly needed cash out of Nazi-occupied Rome to partisan fighters in the mountains, while the Nazis are hunting down one of the underground, a notorious freedom fighter and seditionist. Anna Magnani (an actor well established in her own country who became an international star with this film) is often singled out for her portrayal as the pregnant, unwed woman who gets caught up in the action on her wedding day, but the entire cast is topnotch. The sparse subtitles are both a blessing and a curse--there is less to read, which allows the viewer to concentrate on the visuals, but there are times when non-Italian-speakers will feel like they're missing out on some juicy dialogue. --Geof Miller

Special features

New, restored high-definition digital transfers
Video introductions by Roberto Rossellini to all three films (1963)
New video interviews with Adriano Apra, Virgilio Fantuzzi & more!
Audio commentary on Rome Open City by film scholar Peter Bondanella
Once Upon a Time . . . Rome Open City, a 2006 documentary on the making of
"Rossellini and the City" film scholar Mark Shiel
Excerpts from a Rossellini discussion at Rice University (1970)
"Into the Future," a new visual essay about the War Trilogy
"Roberto Rossellini," a 2001 documentary by Carlo Lizzani
Letters from the Front: Carlo Lizzani on Germany Year Zero
Italian credits and prologue for Germany Year Zero
New illustrated essay by film scholar Thomas Meder
New and improved English subtitle translations
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by director Irene Bignardi and others

Product details

  • Actors: Carmela Sazio, Gar Moore, William Tubbs, Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau
  • Directors: Roberto Rossellini
  • Writers: Alfred Hayes, Basilio Franchina, Carlo Lizzani, Federico Fellini, Klaus Mann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 302 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B002U6DVQ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,916 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City / Paisan / Germany Year Zero) (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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