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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Journey to Italy/Voyage to Italy (1954) d. Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini, film director.

Journey to Italy/Voyage to Italy (1954)
d. Roberto Rossellini
Criterion Collection #675
Part of 3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman
Criterion Collection edition released September 24th 2013.

Yet another fun Italian movie about a disintegrating marriage.  Here, Ingrid Bergman plays Katherine, married to Alex (George Sanders).  They are an English couple visiting the Naples area to sell a villa left to them by an eccentric uncle.  While there, their marriage frays to the breaking point, only to be resolved in the last 60 seconds of the film in what feels like a cheap, tacked on happy ending.

Both Stomboli! and Journey to Italy/Voyage to Italy have endings that put a happy spin on two 90 minute journeys of personal anguish.  Ingrid Bergman cracks exactly two smiles within both films.  Both times, the smiles are for men other then her husband and lead to further arguments and disagreements between her character and her husband.

 The real star of Journey to Italy/Voyage to Italy is Naples.  The husband and wife spend most of the movie apart, she going to museums and various archaeological sites, he running off to Naples and consorting (but not consummating) with the prostituti. The tone of Journey to Italy/Voyage to Italy is set when Bergman announces to her husband that after nine years of marriage, she feels like they are perfect strangers.

 Growing up, you always heard about the seven year itch, but as someone whose own marriage broke up after nine years I have to say that seems to be more accurate.  Anna Karenina's marriage lasted nine years, this one- there are others.  Something about the nine year mark.  I guess that's enough time to know that you are fooling yourself.

  While Journey to Italy/Voyage to Italy is interesting enough, I would be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone besides Italian Neo-Realist die hards and fans of films about failing marriages.  I'm one but not the other.  The Italian neo-realists are my second least favorite Criterion Collection genre behind "every movie from Japan."  Luckily the third film in this Rossellini collection is NOT available on Hulu Plus so I'm all done for now.

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