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Why Rossellini talked about the 500 good guys in the Abruzzo mountains in Roma città aperta

In the summer of 1943, after shooting the film Desiderio in Tagliacozzo, Roberto Rossellini was forced to stay in Abruzzo until the beginning of spring 1944.

In Marsica, he came into contact with a network of partisans protecting and hiding a multitude of Allied soldiers who fled from the prison camps near Sulmona immediately after September 8. And they were remembered as he began to envision Roma Città Aperta, so much so that in the film, he cited them as “the good guys in the mountains of Tagliacozzo.”

The book Rome Open City, A Film Not Fully Discovered, by Caterina Capalbo and published by the Società editrice Dante Alighieri, explores this previously unexamined point. The book sheds new light on the interpretation of the film, on the autobiographical contribution of Rossellini to the screenplay, and on the values of the Abruzzo Resistance.

The book is easy to read but complete in its information on places, heroes, and filmmakers of the time. It is already on its way to becoming a foundational text about a crucial period of time in our history and the history of cinema.   

(Translation by Pallavi Kurakula with Paula Qefaliaj)