Ron Reed has news of a Rossellini Retrospective to celebrate the directors centenary which will be visiting a number of major cities. First up is the Cinematheque Ontario which will be showing the retrospective from October 20th to December 10th. It will also be coming to MOMA (New York - November 15 - December 22), Toronto, with London and Los Angeles to follow in 2007.
Rossellini made numerous great films, many of which are praised for their spirituality, despite the fact he declared himself to be "a complete atheist"1. I've only sampled a few so far, (Roma Città Aperta (Rome Open City), Francesco, Guillare Di Dio (Francis, God's Jester) and Il Messia) but all are firm favourites. Three of his films made the Arts and Faith top 100 (Open City, St Francis, and Stromboli).
There are two films in the retrospective that specifically deal with stories from the bible. The first is Atti Degli Apostoli (Acts of the Apostles - 1968), which I discussed briefly in last months post on the Jerusalem Council. I've actually never seen this, so I'm hotly anticipating seeing this, although at 6 hours I may need to take a cushion.
The other is Il Messia, which I have seen several times, and included in my Top Ten List of Jesus films. I like this film a great deal, partly because, like Pasolini's Matthew, the neo-realist touches give the feel a very natural, low key feel. It's also the only film I'm aware of that shows Jesus continuing to work (as a carpenter) after his mission begins. This was actually Roberto Rosellini's last film, and so, sadly, it is not discussed in the sole book I have on Rossellini,"Roberto Rosellini" by José Luis Guarner.
I imagine that nearer the time the other cinemas involved in this retrospective will post their own details, although Cinematheque Ontario's site is very impressive. Hugo Salas has also written a nice summary of the director's work at Senses of Cinema, as has the BBC's Chris Wiegand.
1 - Essay on Rossellini Retrospective at Cinematheque Ontario