Flaminio di Biagi Presents "La Roma di 'Roma Città Aperta'" at JCU

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Flaminio Di Biagi

Flaminio Di Biagi

On October 27th the Department of Modern Languages and Literature sponsored the presentation of Flaminio di Biagi’s new book La Roma di “Roma Città Aperta” (The Rome of ‘Rome Open City’). The book investigates the history, the cinematic style and the topography of Roberto Rossellini’s 1945 film Roma città aperta (Rome Open City). The lecture was presented by Professor Federica Capoferri, who teaches Italian Literature, Italian Language and History of Italian Cinema at JCU. Flaminio Di Biagi is an Italian Literature and Cinema professor at Loyola Chicago University in Rome and is the author of Il cinema a Roma (Cinema in Rome).

Rossellini’s film illustrated the state of mind and the topography of the city during those tragic months in 1944 during the Nazi occupation of Rome. He put on stage for the first time a realistic depiction of the roads, churches, environments, people, buildings and neighborhoods of occupied Rome.

The film is considered a masterpiece of Italian Neorealism, starring Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi. In the most iconic scene, Magnani’s character Pina desperately chases her boyfriend, played by Fabrizi, who has been captured by German troops. Pina is shot to death on the street. The film is also significant because it introduces the theme of homosexuality, which was previously unexplored in Italian cinema.

Professor Di Biagi showed screenshots from the movie to demonstrate the social and historical importance of each place. He also explained that Rossellini was working with short, compromised filmstrips due to the economic situation of Italy in 1945. Therefore, he was forced to develop a fragmented, choppy style. La Roma di “Roma Città Aperta” is the first in a series which will investigate the locations and relationships of important films made in Rome. The next book will be dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Mamma Roma.

Learn more about studying Modern Languages and Literature in Rome at John Cabot University.