Roberto Rossellini

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Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Gastone Zeffiro Rossellini
BirthplaceRome, Kingdom of Italy
Director, Producer, Screenwriter

Rossellini, Roberto

(rōbĕr`tō rōs-sĕl-lē`nē), 1906–77, Italian film director and producer. He first received international attention in 1946 with Open City, which was made clandestinely during the Fascist period and became the key film of the neorealist movement. He brought the real world into films by mixing non-actors and authentic locales with actors and studio sets. In Paisan (1946) and Stromboli (1949), he continued his striking use of locale as character. Beginning in the 1960s, Rossellini worked on a series of historical films for television, including The Rise of Louis XIV (1966). An affair with Ingrid BergmanBergman, Ingrid
, 1915–82, Swedish actress, b. Stockholm. Specializing in portrayals of strong, dignified, and sophisticated women, Bergman was acclaimed for her performance in Joan of Lorraine (1946) both on stage and on screen (1949).
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, whom he later married, caused an international scandal that obscured the quality of the films they made together in the 1950s, e.g., Europa '51 (The Greatest Love, 1952), La Paura (Fear, 1954).


See biography by T. Gallagher (1998); study by P. Brunette (1987).

Rossellini, Roberto


Born May 8, 1906, in Rome; died there June 3, 1977. Italian film director.

Together with F. De Robertis, Rossellini directed the militarist films White Ship (1941), The Pilot Comes Back (1942), and Men of the Cross (1942). However, in them he also concentrated on the sufferings caused by war and sought to make the films true to life. In 1945 he directed Open City, devoted to wartime resistance in Rome. The film, which was permeated with a spirit of antifascist unity and with heroic inspiration, became a manifesto of neorealism. Also of importance was Rossellini’s antifascist film P aisan (1946), which was tragic in tone.

In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Rossellini directed several films that dealt with moral degradation, including Germany Year Zero (1948), Europa 51 (1951), and Where Is Liberty? (1952). Religious and mystical motifs emerged in his films Francesco, Minstrel of God (1950) and Stromboli (1950). An upsurge of the democratic movement helped Rossellini overcome a creative crisis. He directed India (1958) and a number of films in which he returned to patriotic and antifascist subject matter, including General Delia Rovere (1959), It Was Night in Rome (1960), and Viva l’Italia (1961), which dealt with the campaigns of G. Garibaldi.

In the mid-1960’s, Rossellini worked in television. He made a number of general-educational historical films for television, including The Rise of Louis XIV, Socrates, and Pascal. These films remained outside the main current of progressive Italian cinematography, and in particular outside the “political cinema,” a trend that began in the late 1960’s. In 1975, Rossellini directed the feature film Year One, which depicted the country’s postwar political climate in a distorted manner.


Ferrara, G. Novoe ital’ianskoe kino. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Italian.)