Combustible Celluloid
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With: Carmela Sazio, Robert Van Loon, Dots M. Johnson, Maria Michi, Gar Moore, Harriet White, Renzo Avanzo, Bill Tubbs, Father Vincenzo Carrella, Dale Edmonds
Written by: Sergio Amidei, Klaus Mann, Federico Fellini, Marcello Pagliero, Alfred Hayes, Roberto Rossellini
Directed by: Roberto Rossellini
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: English, Italian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 125
Date: 12/10/1946

Paisan (1946)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Italian for Beginners

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Roberto Rossellini's second feature film -- and the second of his so-called "war trilogy" -- is an anthology film of six tales about the meeting of Americans and Italians during WWII. ("Paisan" is a reference of friendship.)

In one, an American soldier tries to protect an Italian woman, though neither of them speaks the other's language. A black soldier comes across a boy thief. Three American chaplains spend the night in an Italian monastery (the monks are incredulous when they discover that two of the chaplains are protestant and Jewish). In the best crafted story, a weary, drunken soldier searches for a girl and falls in with a prostitute without realizing that they are one in the same.

Rossellini's handling of the actors is often awkward, and he has a penchant for melodrama and for swelling music. His style is little more than observant. But the genuine feeling of human warmth is unmistakable.

The writers of Paisan, including Rossellini and Federico Fellini, received a Best Screenplay Oscar nomination in 1950.

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