Roberto Goffredo Zeffiro Rossellini

(Rome, 8 April 1906 – 3 June 1977)



Son of Giuseppe Rossellini and Elettra Angiolo Bacha constructor. He lived on via Ludovisi, where was the first hotel in 1922, Benito Mussolini resided when fascism took power Rossellini's father built the first cinema in Rome, the BarberiniAfter the death of his father, Roberto started to work as an editor.

In 1936 bride Marcella de Marchis, set designer and costume designer, with whom he worked for a long time even after the breakdown of the marriage. From this Union was born the son Renzo Jr. In 1938 he made his first documentary, "Prèlude à l ' après-midi d'un faune".

After this exit, he was called to assist Goffredo Alessandrini in making Luciano Serra pilota, one of the most successful Italian films from the first half of the 20th century. In 1940 he was called to assist Francesco De Robertis on Uomini sul fondo. His friendship with Vittorio Mussolini, son of the Duce responsible for cinema, has been interpreted as a possible reason why was preferred to other apprentices. Manufactures Fantasia sottomarina first experimental short filmed in 1939 for Genepesca using only two aquariums at his home in Ladispoli. His first film as a Director is the white ship (1941) sponsored by the Audiovisual Propaganda Centre of Navy Department, the first work of fascist war trilogy by Rossellini together Un pilota ritorna (1942) and man of the cross (1943). To this period dates the friendship and collaboration with Federico Fellini and Aldo Fabrizi. He attended the trattoria Fratelli Menghi, meeting place for painters, poets, but especially young directors and screenwriters as Ugo Pirro, Franco Solinas, and Giuseppe De Santis. With the end of the fascist regime in 1943, just two months after the libration of Rome, Rossellini was already preparing Roma Città aperta on a story by Sergio Amidei (with Fellini who attended the script and Fabrizi who recited in part of the priest), films that did not have an immediate success in Italy, the second movie filmed by Rossellini was Paisà, shot in six episodes with non-professional actors between Naples, Coastal Amalfitana, Maoiori in a convent on the Apennines and the The Po Delta. The third Film of the trilogy Germany year Zero (1948), neo-realist was produced by a French writer. Here also, Rosselli prefers non-professional actors, but was unable to find a face I thought interesting. Rossellini placed a camera in the middle of a square, as he had done with Paisà, but surprised that no one get close to Ford.


As he declared in an interview: 


"In order to really create the character that one has in mind requires that the Director engages in a battle with its authors, which usually ends with submitting to their desires. Since I don't want to waste my energies in this kind of battle, I use professional actors only occasionally. "

After his Neorealist trilogy, Rossellini produced two films now defined as transient (love with Anna Magnani, the machine kills bad guys) both shot in Maiori on the Amalfi coast on the capability of cinema to portray reality and truth that invokes the Commedia dell'Arte.

The 1948 is the year of love: Rossellini received a letter from a foreign actress proposing to work with him, with this letter began one of the most popular love stories, the film world, between Rossellini and Ingrid Bergam, both at the height of their popularity. They started working together the following year in Stromboli terra di Dio (filmed on the island of Stromboli, whose volcano erupted during filming), and in 1950 in Europe ' 51.

In the 1953 movie Trip in Italy, bitterly attacked by Italian critics, gave him a chance of going into contact with young French cinephiles who would then created the Nouvelle Vague. It was Francois Truffaut to contact Rossellini informing him that in France the film was distributed in a completely remastered, from that first contact Rossellini squeezed deep relations with Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godrad, Jacques Rivette, Claude Charbol, Eri Rohmer, then all critics of the magazine Chaiers du Cinéma and his influence was paramount in their passage behind the stain.

In 1965, Rossellini says its passage by the cinema, on television claiming that the latter being an medium cold and aimed at a mass audience could better communicate with the viewer than the film, considered a medium hot and regressive, He compared the film to the womb, prevented the experience and was too protective of the Viewer. Think of television as a teaching medium, able to communicate the story and transmit culture more effectively than the school and books. Begins his encyclopedic project with geography and then go down in history: the latter was fundamental to Rossellini because we explained our being, our past, present and future. Man is made in history.


His works for television can be divided into:


Portraits of people (Socrates, Descartes, Pascal, Augustine of Hippo, Louis XIV)


Portraits of the era (the age of Cosimo de ' Medici, acts of the Apostles)


Vintage portraits differ from first because far more specific and while portraits of characters following an idea. With the exception of Socrates and of Cosimo the adventures of characters take place over a period of 20-30 years.

His television films can be considered part of an encyclopedic project, almost as if the movie were part of the same work. The taking of power by Louis XIV is the only tv movie also screened in cinemas and the only film not dubbed. All the films, except for the latter, are dubbed.

This process was typical of postwar and Rossellini applies it to scarnificare the actor, he does talk a book, devoid of feelings.

In the television movies start zooming and is always present as a constant sequence.

The tumultuous marriage to Ingrid Bergman ended in 1957, when Rossellini went on a long trip to India at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, from which he returned with a film, India Matri Bhumi, a documentary for television, The India seen by Rossellini along with new companion, Sonali from Gupta. Later Rossellini adopted the son of Sonli, Gil Rossellini. Gil later worked with Martin Scottish and Sergio Leone and became a celebrated documentary filmmaker, Rossellini and Sonali had a daughter together, Raffaella Rossellini. In the immediate aftermath of the trip to India, Rossellini returned on the themes of the second world war with the movie il Generale della Rovere was awarded the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice Film festival jointly with the great Mari Monicelli, war and Era notte a Roma. The first experiment in the realization of its educational project was the iron age, six-part television series aired by RAI in 1964. After this first experience Rossellini struggled to find financial backers until 1966, when it was called by French television to direct La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV, film that garnered a large as surprising success of audiences and critics. Between 1968 and 1974 Rossellini was deeply involved in advancing its educational project and created an impressive array of movies trying to cover so the key moments in the history of encyclopedic evolution of Western civilization through the story ideas and men who have driven. The great experience of Director and his inimitable working method allowed Rossellini in just five years to realize for television (from 1969 to 1974), annual output of Cartesius, film for a total length of over thirty hours. The passion and dedication with which Rossellini worked towards achieving this humanistic project led him to seek alternative methods in the production and distribution of films, to refine the working method in the direction of actors and in staging and even to design and test new technical solutions for the realization of the film (such as the use of "Shuftan Shot" or the Pancinor process) and for dissemination (arrived in patent in the early 1970s one optical system video cassette playback VCR's precursor). Roberto Rossellini died in Rome on 3 June 1977 due to a heart attack.


Feature Film Filmography


1941/ The white ship


1942Un pilota ritorna


1943L'UOMO dalla croce


1945Rome, open city




1946/ Paisà


1948Germany year zero


1948 / love


1950 / Stromboli


1950/ Francesco, Giullare di Dio


1952the seven deadly sins


1952Europa 51


1953trip to Italy


1954Amori di mezzo secolo


1954Where is freedom


1954 / fear


1954Joan of arc at the stake




1959 / General della Rovere


1960 / Era notte a Roma


Short films




1937Prèlude à l ' Après-midi d'un faune


1939La vispa Teresa


1939/ The Turkey bully


1940 / Fantasia sottomarina


1941 / Brook of Ripasottile


1961long live Italy


1961 / Vanina Vanini


1962 / Black soul


1975 / the Messiah