Thursday, March 20, 2014

Roma, città aperta

One of the classics of Italian and world cinema is Roberto Rossellini`s  Roma, città aperta (Rome, Open City) (1945)

The setting is  in Rome during the Nazi occupation in 1944

The film was shot just a few months after the Nazis had evacuated their forces from Rome

The script was written by Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidei

One of the main characters is Don Pietro Pellegrini played by the Italian actor Aldo Fabrizi

In the film, Don Pietro is executed by the Germans

The character of Don Pietro is based on that of two Roman Catholic priests in Rome who were executed by the Nazis: Don Giuseppe  Morosini  (1913 - 1944) who had been shot by the Germans for helping the partisan movement in Italy, and Don Pietro Pappagallo (1888 - 1944), an Italian anti-fascist who assisted victims of Nazism and Fascism in Rome during World War II and who was killed in the Ardeatine Caves

At  execution of Father Morosini, the bishop who had ordained him, and like a true father to his priests, Archbishop Traglia (later Cardinal and Dean of the College of Cardinals) was present

Don Pappagallo was the  priest among the 335 victims massacred on 24 March 1944 by the SS at the Caves

Despite the pleas of the Vatican including Pope Pius XII, the executions were carried out