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Monday, September 23, 2013

Stromboli (1950) d. Roberto Rossellini

Ingrid Bergman being judged in Stomboli d. Roberto Rossellini (1950)

Movie Review
Stromboli (1950)
 d. Roberto Rossellini
Criterion Collection #673
Criterion Collection Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Part of  3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman

  Roberto Rossellini is probably the third most famous Italian film director behind Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, but he is the number one representative of Italy in terms of films in the Criterion Collection: he has 12, vs. Fellini with 9 and Antonioni with 6.  Rossellini is typically credited with being the originator of "Italian Neo-Realism," a style of cinema which preceded the French New Wave but shares aspects of that movement in terms of being a post-World War II reaction to pre World War II trends in Cinema.

 Stromboli was his first film with then Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman.  Of course, Bergman had cemented her role as a Hollywood icon/A lister with her performance opposite Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1942).  The story goes that Bergman wrote Rossellini suggesting that they make a movie or two together, Rossellini, presumably not a moron said, "OK."   They subsequently had an affair and that affair produced twins (Isabella Rossellini is one).  Bergman was ostracized from Hollywood for a decade afterward- like she gave a fuck- although maybe it was hard for her to abandon her husband and child(!) which she did.

  Considering the existential/bleak tone of Stromboli, the story of a Lithuanian national stranded in a Post War Italian Refugee camp (Bergman) who agrees to marry an Italian fisherman out of desperation, only to find herself marooned on his desolate, volcanic, hell-hole of a home island, the viewer has plenty of time to reflect on the ample back story between Rossellini and Bergman.  Indeed, it is not so hard to actually search for the back story on the web while the movie is playing because there is so little happening on screen.

  Basically, Bergman is sad that she is on the island, for 90 minutes.  It's hard to compare Stromboli to Antonioni's L'Avventura.  L'Avventura has a different story, but the similarities between the volcanic type island that figure prominently in both films is hard to ignore. 

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