Rome Open City is a central film to ‘The New Filmgoer’s Guide to God’. The other day I saw it in the cinema in a new digital restoration, and was yet again transfixed. It is partly because Good Friday approaches, and while the film is a compelling story on its own it is at a deeper level the story of Rome’s crucifixion, or Rome’s Passion if you like. I expand on this in the book, and adumbrate the links the film has with Puccini’s opera ‘Tosca’, which help to give the film a greater resonance, since the operatic echoes deepen the sense in which Rome Open City is a quintessentially Italian film. Other countries suffered terribly in the war, but this was the uniquely Italian version of that suffering.
This is a story that never fails to reach some inner core in me. I first saw the film at the age of 19, and have had a lifetime’s experience of it.