Italian NeoRealism | Italian with English subtitles | 126 minutes
Paisan is about the liberation of Italy starting with the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943 to the end of World War II in 1945. Director Roberto Rossellini decided to tell the story in six episodes using many nonprofessionals and a loose script. Rossellini hired six individual writers, each writing one episode. This gave Paisan an originality that probably couldn’t have been achieved if the entire film was written by one person. Rossellini did not want each episode to focus solely on the fighting. Each episode includes personal stories: lonely GIs, frightened locals, and how they interact. Here’s the breakdown: 1st Episode ( Allied invasion of Sicily); 2nd Episode ( Allied invasion of the mainland); 3rd Episode (Liberation of Rome); 4th Episode (Liberation of Florence); 5th Episode (An evening in a liberated monastery); 6th Episode (Americans and Italian partisans operating behind German lines).
Why Stream This Film?
Paisan was way ahead of its time the way it was split into six episodes, using a mix of actors and non-actors and improvising the script as the filming proceeded. Director Martin Scorsese listed Paisan as one of his all-time favorites and his favorite Rossellini film. After Ingrid Bergman saw this film she contacted Rossellini and told him emphatically, ” I want to be in your next film.”
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Screenplay
- National Board of Review: Winner, Best Film; Best Director (Roberto Rossellini)
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Winner (Best Foreign Language Film)
- Venice International Film Festival: Winner, Best Feature Film
- The film received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score
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Each episode acquires a wholly unexpected naturalness and depth of feeling from Rossellini’s refusal to hype the anecdotes with conventional dramatic rhetoric. The sequences using shifting focal lengths, drifting camera movements, and natural sounds create a suspense of almost unbearable intensity and immediacy.
PAISAN marks a milestone in the expressiveness of the screen. It cannot fail to rattle the windowpanes of your eyes and for many it will crash into the consciousness and leave your emotions limp. This is a film to be seen–and seen again.
PAISAN highlights the power of the neorealist style better than almost any other film.
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