Roberto Rossellini's The Solitude Trilogy has been screening over at my workplace all weekend. Today marks the only time during the run that all three films, Stromboli, Europa '51, & Voyage to Italy will be shown in a single day. I'm going to try to make it through all of 'em, though, if recent history has proven anything, I probably will give up before the day is done. Extra incentive to stay at least through the 2nd film: Europa '51 is rarely screened theatrically; in fact, it's a rare 16mm print borrowed from a private collector that's being projected today.
The following film synopses are lifted directly from the NW Film Center's listings:
The film where Rossellini fatefully met Ingrid Bergman, STROMBOLI—like their later VOYAGE TO ITALY—is a semi-autobiographical portrait of its star’s stranger-in-a-strange-land predicament. Bergman plays a Lithuanian war refugee who marries a fisherman on the remote Sicilian island of Stromboli in order to escape an internment camp. Moving from the environmental reality that characterized his earlier neo-realist films to a psychological realism foreshadowing Antonioni’s L’AVENTURRA (1960), Rossellini’s film contrasts the island’s desolate, volcanic landscapes with its leading lady’s emotional turmoil. The barren, sulfurous rock proves a formidable and unpredictable rival for Bergman’s ferocious will. “An intensely moving exploration of sainthood and spirituality.”—Martin Scorsese. (107 mins.)
The second collaboration between Rossellini and Bergman chronicles the life of a wealthy American woman living in Rome who is thrown into turmoil when her young son commits suicide over what he perceived to be her lack of affection for him. The woman’s grief leads her to the realization that she has been living a shallow, bourgeois existence and propels her to change her ways. As if on a spiritual quest, she begins devoting her life to helping the less fortunate—a sick prostitute, an unwed mother with numerous children, and a young boy—all of which disturbs her husband in tragic reaction. While the film has been viewed as Rossellini’s vision of the state of the world in all its confusion, many also read it as an exploration of Ingrid Bergman’s personal struggle. (113 mins.)
Voyage to Italy (aka Journey to Italy):
A reserved British couple (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) take a break from the chaos of London and retreat to the rugged landscape of Naples, only to find that outside of the structure of their everyday lives, the tedium of their marriage begins to emerge. Under the glistening surface of its minimal plot, Rossellini’s film amasses subtle details and small moments that build towards one of postwar cinema’s most enigmatically poignant conclusions. Again, Rossellini’s use of the environment as a relevant character is a precursor to Antonioni’s bleak industrial landscapes, serving as a link between neo-realism and the subjective, psychological cinema of the 1960s. (97 mins.)
The Solitude Trilogy: Stromboli, Europa '51 & Voyage to Italy screens at the NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium (in the Portland Art Museum). Click here for more info.