Arguably the very greatest of Rossellini’s films, this piercing study of a marriage on the rocks is also one of the cinema’s most miraculous love stories.
Its magic lies partly in the pitch-perfect casting of George Sanders as cynical, supercilious English businessman Alex Joyce and Ingrid Bergman as his restless wife Katherine. Already bored by the time they reach a property they’re selling, the troubled couple allow differences in taste and temperament to drive them towards divorce, even as Naples, Capri and Pompeii also take their toll…
While Rossellini’s customary interest in documentary realism enhances the depiction of the region’s influence on the disenchanted pair, he here moves far beyond social realities to focus on the kind of deeper emotional and psychological truths one finds in the work of Bergman and Antonioni. This digital restoration by Cineteca di Bologna does full justice both to the immediacy of Enzo Serafin’s images and to a vividly colourful soundtrack; the film remains wondrously alive.
Geoff Andrew (source: BFI website)
Certificate: PG Distributor: BFI Distribution
Dir. Roberto Rossellini, Italy/France, 1954, 97 mins, B/W, some subtitles
Cast: Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders, Maria Mauban
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