• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    Rossellini Retrospective - Atti and Il Messia

    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

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    • At 11:19 pm, October 19, 2006, Blogger Doug said…

      Thanks for highlighting this, Matt. It's a major series and one that is sadly rare enough to justify Quandt's comment, "This will be your only opportunity to see many of these films, which have become legendary
      in their absence." (One note: your link to Quandt's essay goes to page 7.)

    • At 9:36 am, October 20, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Ah, it was meant to be a footnote, but I forgot the ref no.! I linked to the start of Quandt's essay higher up.

      Thanks for your comments Doug.


    • At 6:14 am, May 01, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Hi Matt,
      Do you happen to know the actual date when Rossellini's ATTI DEGLI APOSTOLI is being shown at the BFI? I would love to see it. I have seen IL MESSIA and like that film a lot.


    • At 9:16 am, May 01, 2007, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Hi Peter,

      I don't know the details yet, unfortunately. The retrospective is happening over May and June. May is his films from the 40s and 50s, June is to be the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately the dates for June are not up yet. When I get them I'll be posting them on the blog.


    • At 5:55 am, May 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Thanks, that would be handy.
      Have you seen Rossellini's "Francesco, guillare di Dio"? That is another beautiful film. Other favourite Rossellini films include "Stromboli" and "Europe'51".

    • At 10:02 am, May 04, 2007, Blogger Matt Page said…

      I've now posted the details of the BFI screenings.

      Peter, of the three you mentioned I've only seen "Francesco, guillare di Dio". I'm hoping to catch some of the others before I see this though.


    • At 12:15 pm, May 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Can you tell me when "Era notte a Roma" will screened during the Rossellini retro?



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