Films of Roberto Rossellini


“At a certain point, I felt so useless!” said Roberto Rossellini. Never before had technology accomplished such miracles. Yet everywhere the world was confronting crises. Never before had civilization so needed us all to understand the great problems—food, water, energy. Yet everywhere, especially in contemporary art, there was nothing but cruelty and complaining. The mass media, Rossellini charged, were accomplishing “a sort of cretinization of adults.” Rather than illuminate people, their great effort seemed to be to subjugate them, “to create slaves who think they’re free.”

And Rossellini himself? He felt useless.

“By 1958,” said François Truffaut, “Rossellini was well aware that his films were not like those of other people, but he very sensibly decided that it was the others who ought to change.”


The Criterion Collection’s companion Eclipse Series’ release to The Taking of Power by Louis XIV, Tag Gallagher continues the discussion of the artistic crisis that turned Roberto Rossellini to history and television for the last two decades of his life and explains how the director’s statement that “I now see myself as scientist and craftsman” applies to the grand, three-part The Age of the Medici, Cartesius, and Blaise Pascal, all part of Eclipse Series 14: Rossellini’s History Films—Renaissance and Enlightenment.



~ by eaesthete on 12/29/08.

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