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Roberto Rossellini's movie Paisan and its significance and importance, combining and analysis of its visual/literary/conceptual dimensions with post-war Italian culture and history (1946)
Roberto Rossellini's movie Paisan and its significance
Following the Second World War, extremely harsh period encompassed the economic and social development of many nations. Italy in this period was no exception as leading forces continued to challenge the development of the country. The post war period saw varied challenges mitigating their way into the society, expected to introduce a new era of fascism, which was already on paper as Mussolini had already put it in place. It is within the ensuing decade that Roberto Rossellini continued to foster his career in the film industry, establishing the production of the movie Paisan. Paisan is uniquely different from its predecessors, such as Open City by Roberto in all its aspects, except the fact that it retains the evident attractiveness and emotional content arousal as the others (Alexander 23). The film presents an authentic and truthful film playing different from the rules of drama while tying varied characters and events together. In essence, it gives the audience a reenactment of the events and situations that happened in real life, with a unique touch of storytelling.
The story in the movie Paisan is an accompanying part of the trilogy of war by Rossellini. It presents a wonderfully sketched plot that brings the aspects of living in Italy in the period between 1943 and 1945 (Bertellini 56). It is the time the allied troops were invading Sicily in the pursuit of liberating the country form the control of the Nazi. The story has a political intuition that revolves around the consequences of the war and happenings in that government, and interaction in the society at the time. These events had a significant role in shaping the postwar cultural development of the country, as the themes in the story Paisan illustrate. The plot of the story has a six-episode segmentation that takes up to 120 minutes of running. Each of the episodes brings the story from a different setting, but in continuation to the storyline, with the characters depicting the themes of the story indiscriminately clear (Stille 42). Additionally, the story also features characters drawn from real life, as some of the characters were soldiers involved in the actual period of war. Additionally, the players in the film also have a personal touch to the story, as they witnessed the events of the period of the Second World War; hence, the story arouses a feeling of intimate and personal relation to the story.
From the title of the movie, Paisan is a translation from the word Paisa. The word Paisan means fellow countrymen, whereas the initial word, Paisa is from the Neapolitan and it implies something along the lines of a little town. Relating the title of the movie to the significance of the movie, Rossellini figuratively thought and simulated the title to present the holistic aspect of the storyline, which helps understand the influence of the world war to the events of the post war period in Italy. The title helps understand the sense in the movie, in which each episode of the story takes place in a different section of Italy, representing the Paisa dissent (Stille 67). Thus, the significance of the title of the movie presents the aspect of the differences that ensued in the culture of Italian people after the war. The difficulties that followed the war in the cultural development of the country, the miscommunication and misunderstandings that affected the relations among the countrymen in Italy. Thus, from the title of the movie, Rossellini shows his intention of relating the story to the differences and challenges that faced the country in the various sectors of society, culture, and economy.
Second factor in Paisan and its significance to the post war Italy is the episode separation of the movie. The plot of the story involves six episodes, in which the episodes tell the story from a realistic newsreel that no government would approve despite it being true. The prominent focus of the episodes in the movie is to show that the variance among the people positions do not affect the essential and final goal, which is to stay alive. In each episode, Rossellini presents the story from a different part of the country, yet relating to the previous section, in which he indicates the theme of survival for the people in the period of the war (Stille 111). The people depicted in each episode do not care about politics and waving of the flag of the country they represent, but rather they intend to stay alive. Thus, Rossellini refuses to make the people and events look good as he shows the tragic reality of the impact of the war on the cultural relations and communication among the people in that period. In reality, there are episodes that are dark and bleak; but these do not overshadow the humanistic feel in the story, with all the gloom in the environment at the time.
The third perspective of the significance of the story to the cultural development of post war Italy is the theme of miscommunication and misunderstanding among the people. In view of the movie, there is only one person who understands the languages of both sides of the conflict. Therefore, this person has the obligation of translating and interpreting for both sides, which means they would have to work together to corporate and come out as all winners. However, in the movie, it takes a different course as the film presents an entirely varying objective. The first episode presents the Americans who only have one person who understands Italian. Thus, the allies proceed, led by Local Carmela across the German minefield. However, Joe gets the order to guard Carmela, in which despite the language barrier, he starts to overcome the difference. This presents the aspect that, with cooperation, the people would have a chance to overcome their communication barrier; hence, allowing them to have better relations (Alexander 77). However, a German sniper shoots Joe tragically, and Carmela hides him in the basement. Later on, Joe dies, and Americans assume is Carmela who killed him. Thus, the theme of communication barrier among the characters in the movie presents the challenges that faced the post war Italy in developing a coherent coexistence among the people. The post war period in Italy presents divisions among the citizens, as they disagree on various matters while pursuing each person interest for survival reasons. Thus, the movie succeeds in retelling the communication barriers that ensued during the war period, as well as, the significant impact it has in the post war period. Communication is vital in determining the progress and unity of the people working together. Misunderstandings among the people present challenge to the development of the Italians economically and socially (Killinger 117). The cultural differences among the people pose a threat to the unity of people. Therefore, Rossellini does present the aspect of significance of effective communication to foster unity and progression in the country.
Additionally, the aspects of psychological effects of the war also become clear. The story, in the sixth episode of the movie, presents the theme of psychological effects left by the war and their impacts in the after country from the war period. In the storyline, it shows a few of the allied soldiers, who remained behind to aid the partisans to defeat the Germans. However, their efforts are futile as their attacks only leave more of them dead and the families of the partisans and locals suffering. The death of family members leaves a haunting experience among the people. For instance, the touching part of the episode is where we observe the deaths of the family members leaving a child crying in the midst of dead bodies. This is a traumatizing image, depicting the psychological impacts of the war on families and those left behind after the war. The psychological effects of war are evident in all sections of real life where war takes place. However, in view of this movie, and its focus on the theme of psychological involvement of the people in the war, Rossellini presents the significant theme of addressing the impacts of war on the society and its culture. For instance, as the movie depicts, the death of family members, leaving a child wandering over dead bodies. This influences the cultural development of Italy as the Second World War left many children orphaned and without any person to care for them. This shows the impact of the war on the society and its development. The society loses able people; thus, they rely on the children left behind to work and other jobs, hence the emergence of the culture of working children in Italy (Forgacs & Stephen 87). This movie setting and its themes focus on the impacts of the war. Thus, from the analysis of the themes shot in the story, the significance of the…[continue]
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