3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman (BLU-RAY)
In the late 1940s, the incandescent Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman found herself so stirred by the revolutionary neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini that she sent the director a letter, introducing herself and offering her talents. The resulting collaboration produced a series of films that are works of both sociopolitical concern and metaphysical melodrama, each starring Bergman as a woman experiencing physical dislocation and psychic torment in postwar Italy. It also famously led to a scandalous affair and eventual marriage between filmmaker and star, and the focus on their personal lives in the press unfortunately overshadowed the extraordinary films they made together. Stromboli, Europe ’51, and Journey to Italy are intensely moving portraits that reveal the director at his most emotional and the glamorous actress at her most anguished, and that capture them and the world around them in transition.
FILMS IN THIS SET:Stromboli (1950)
The first collaboration between Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman is a devastating portrait of a woman’s existential crisis, set against the beautiful and forbidding backdrop of a volcanic island. After World War II, a Lithuanian refugee (Bergman) marries a simple Italian fisherman (Mario Vitale) she meets in a prisoner of war camp and accompanies him back to his isolated village on an island off the coast of Sicily. Cut off from the world, she finds herself crumbling emotionally, but she is destined for a dramatic epiphany. Balancing the director’s trademark neorealism—exemplified here in a remarkable depiction of the fishermen’s lives and work—with deeply felt melodrama, Stromboli is a revelation.
Europe ’51 (1952)
Ingrid Bergman plays a wealthy, self-absorbed Rome socialite racked by guilt over the shocking death of her young son. As a way of dealing with her grief and finding meaning in her life, she decides to devote her time and money to the city’s poor and sick. Her newfound, single-minded activism leads to conflicts with her husband and questions about her sanity. The intense, often overlooked Europe ’51 was, according to Rossellini, a retelling of his own The Flowers of St. Francis from a female perspective. This unabashedly political but sensitively conducted investigation of modern sainthood was the director’s favorite of his films.
Journey to Italy (1954)
Among the most influential films of the postwar era, Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia) charts the declining marriage of a couple from England (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) on a trip in the countryside near Naples. More than just the anatomy of a relationship, Rossellini’s masterpiece is a heartrending work of emotion and spirituality. Considered a predecessor to the existentialist works of Michelangelo Antonioni and hailed as a groundbreaking modernist work by the legendary film journal Cahiers du cinéma, Journey to Italy is a breathtaking cinematic benchmark.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
- New digital restorations of the English- and Italian-language versions of Stromboli and Europe ’51 and of Journey to Italy, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
- Introductions to all three films by director Roberto Rossellini
- Rossellini Under the Volcano, a 1998 documentary that returns to Stromboli fifty years after the making of the film
- New interview with film historian Elena Dagrada on the different versions of Europe ’51
- Audio commentary on Journey to Italy by film scholar Laura Mulvey
- Short film featuring footage of the Rossellinis during the production of Journey to Italy
- New interviews with film critic Adriano Aprà about all three films
- Surprised by Death, a new visual essay by film critic James Quandt on the historical and artistic themes of the trilogy
- Living and Departed, a new visual essay by Rossellini scholar Tag Gallagher on the evolution of the director’s style in the trilogy
- New interview with filmmaker Martin Scorsese
- New interview with Rossellini and actress Ingrid Bergman’s daughters, Ingrid Rossellini and Isabella Rossellini
- Rossellini Through His Own Eyes, a 1992 documentary on the director’s approach to cinema
- New interview with G. Fiorella Mariani, Rossellini’s niece, featuring Bergman’s home movies
- Ingrid Bergman Remembered, a 1995 documentary on the actress’s life, narrated by her daughter Pia Lindstrom
- My Dad Is 100 Years Old, a 2005 short film directed by Guy Maddin and starring Isabella Rossellini
- The Chicken, a 1952 short film directed by Rossellini and starring Bergman
- New English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Richard Brody, Dina Iordanova, Dagrada, Fred Camper, and Paul Thomas; letters between Bergman and Rossellini; a 1950 article by Rossellini; and two interviews with the director, from 1954 and 1963