Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Germany, Year Zero (Roberto Rossellini, 1948)


The third and least sustained chapter in Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy. In his search for an elemental humanity in the crushed enemy, Rossellini discovered some striking locations and a fascinating social context but he failed to come across any half-competent actors. Whenever anyone speaks in this melodrama of Shakespearean aspirations, the illusion is wrecked - and this illusion is crucial to neo-realist story-telling. Still, the glimpses of post-War Berlin are galvanising and the film's finale, which unfolds in excruciatingly tense real time (and, thankfully, in silence), packs a punch.

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