Roberto Rossellini

(1906—1977) Italian film director

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Italian film director, known for his neorealist films and his controversial marriage to Ingrid Bergman.

Rossellini, who was born in Rome, began as a writer, amateur film-maker, and a maker of fascist documentaries. One of his earliest features, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1938), was banned as indecent; however, in the years immediately after World War II he emerged in the vanguard of the Italian neorealist movement. His first successful international film was the universally acclaimed Rome: Open City (1945), shot in the streets of Rome in quasi-documentary style. Although it starred Anna Magnani (1909–73), its cast was mainly nonprofessional. In a similar vein came Paisà (1946) and Germany, Year Zero (1947). Stromboli (1949) brought him and his future wife, Ingrid Bergman, together but the public outcry that surrounded their affair and marriage (1950) led to their films being banned in several countries. Rossellini had by now departed from the neorealism of his earlier successes with L'amore (1948), again starring Magnani.

Rossellini and Bergman separated in 1956 and their marriage was annulled in 1958, the year that saw the release of his documentary India. His flagging international reputation was finally restored with Il generale della Rovere (1959), for which he won the Grand Prix at the Venice Festival. He directed several more films and television productions, often working from his own screenplay, before his death.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Literature.

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