It was August, 1944, just two short months after the Germans had been forced out of Rome during World War II, that Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidei started working on a script for the 1945 film Open City (Roma, cittÃ aperta). The movie was one of the first to rise out of the ashes of the war-torn country and launch Neorealism. The movement was a new type of Italian filmmaking, led by directors like Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica and others, who rejected the idea of manufactured plot lines in favor of gritty reality, and professional actors in favor of ordinary citizens.
In Open City, Rossellini shows viewers a grim portrait of a German-occupied Rome. During the hunt for a resistance leader, a group of people get caught in the crossfire with deadly results. The film is one of ten being screened as part of the series Days of Glory: Italian Neorealist Classics.
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Other titles include Obsession (Ossessione) (1943) by Visconti and Shoeshine (SciusciÃ ) (1946) by De Sica. Open City screens at 7 p.m. September 10. The series continues through September 30. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Sat., Sept. 10, 7 p.m., 2011