91r19p8ysDL._SL1500_Anytime anything is released featuring films by one of the most influential film directors of all time then you (film buff or not) should pick it up. Italian director Roberto Rossellini is the man in many regards. Many of his films still influence directors today more than 70-odd years later. It was during a dark time for humanity, World War II era, that he released a trio of films which left their mark and announced his arrival in the film world.

Everything he did was innovative with nothing being ordinary. From his way of telling stories to the use of non-professional actors in his casts to the sparse visuals he preferred, it all became his signature. These three World War II and post World War II films all are prime examples of this. His unique voice, eye and style come shining through.

Roman Open City (1945):

A film about the Nazi occupation of Rome. It is a harrowing watch. The film is told from the viewpoint of a few brave souls that resisted against the occupation. A priest (played by Aldo Fabrizi) helps the resisters out. Really authentic feel about the film. Amazing that this was able to be made as war was coming to an end.

The film has been newly restored in high definition

Special Features:

  • Introduction by Roberto Rossellini
  • Audio commentary from 2009 by film scholar Peter Bondanella
  • Once Upon a Time . . . “Rome Open City”
  • Interviews from 2009 with Rossellini scholar Adriano Aprà
  • Rossellini and the City
  • Interview with film critic and Rossellini friend Father Virgilio Fantuzzi

Palsan (1946):

Six different short pieces set during the liberation of Italy at the end of the war. A great and brave follow-up to award winning Roman Open City. Stories happen all across the country from Sicily to the northern Po Valley. Almost like a documentary. Looks at the struggles that the Americans and Italians had communicating. Film was almost “lost” or forgotten and thankfully now today’s viewers can experience it.

Also has been remastered in high definition.

Special Features:

  • Introduction by Roberto Rossellini
  • Interview from 2009 with Rossellini scholar Adriano Aprà
  • Excerpts from rarely seen videotaped discussions Rossellini had in 1970 about his craft with faculty and students at Rice University
  • Into the Future, a 2009 video essay about The War Trilogy by film scholar Tag Gallagher

Germany Year Zero (1948):

The final film in Rossellini’s World War II trilogy. It is a look at the ruin Berlin was in after the war. It is told from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy. Edmund lives in a bombed out apartment building with his sick father and two older siblings. As a result he has no supervision and is left largely to his own devices. This leads to him falling under the influence of some unsavoury people. Demonstrates how awful fascism is/was.

Another film that has undergone the high definition restoration process.

Special Features:

  • Introductions by Roberto Rossellini
  • Italian credits and prologue from Germany Year Zero
  • Roberto Rossellini, a 2001 documentary by Carlo Lizzani, assistant director on Germany Year Zero
  • Letters from the Front: Carlo Lizzani on “Germany Year Zero”
  • Interview from 2009 with Rossellini scholar Adriano Aprà
  • Interviews from 2009 with filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani