AT LONG LAST

Rick’s Journal (MY FILM CAREER)

Having finally seen, after years of waiting, Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy, I find myself surprised to learn that Godard AND Truffaut viewed it as new cinema, as modern film.  It impressed me as old-fashioned, especially for Rossellini.  The strained relationship of the long-married couple seems obvious in exposition and development and  —  SPOILER ALERT  —  too easily resolved.  Readings since watching Voyage to Italy have me wondering if I missed much that Rossellini wants to say about postwar Italian society, missed, that is, the significance of the physical and social landscape against which the simple story is played.

Voyage to Italy features the flowing, professional photography of most of the later Rossellini films.  And whatever the state of the Rossellini/Bergman marriage at the time this was made, his camera still loves following her.  She is excellent in all scenes.  George Sanders, well cast, is very good.

It is excellent news that this legendary movie is now available to American viewers.

Voyage to Italy
Roberto Rossellini
1953
photography Enzo Serafin
aka Voyage in Italy
aka Journey to Italy
aka Strangers

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:  Lindsay Anderson, in response, to being asked what his film If… is about:  “It is for the critic to decide what it is ‘about.'”  He says first:  “I don’t think one can ever say what one’s work is ‘about’  —  certainly not if one has managed to make anything of value.  You see, one doesn’t set out to make a film ‘about’ anything.  One starts with an impulse and a subject and an area of experience, and whatever one makes grows out of that.  It is for the critic to decide what it’s ‘about.'”

How many film makers would grant the same?  But I am remembering that I have felt disappointed when reading Ingmar Bergman’s assessment of his own work and I am happy to accept the responsibility Lindsay Anderson has given me.

Reactions from my readers?

Lindsay Anderson, by the way, asked that question of himself.  It is from an interview with himself in the booklet that accompanies the Criterion Collection’s two-disc set of If… .

NEXT POST FRIDAY August 2

See you at the movies,
Rick

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