Born in Rome on May 8, 1906, Roberto Rossellini was destined for the world of film, as his father, construction firm owner Angiolo Giuseppe Rossellini, built the first cinema in Rome, the ‘Barberini’.
In the early 1930s, Rossellini worked in various jobs and undertook his apprenticeship as an assistant to Italian filmmakers. An early documentary preceded his first feature film, The White Ship (1941). Shortly after the liberation of Rome in 1944, Rossellini started to film the anti-fascist Rome, Open City (1945) with Federico Fellini and Aldo Fabrizi, which won the Grand Prize at Cannes Film Festival. Two more neo-realist classics soon followed, Paisan (1946), for which he was nominated for a screen-writing Oscar in 1950, and Germany Year Zero (1948). After his Neorealist Trilogy, Rossellini produced two 'transitional films': Amore (1948) and La macchina ammazzacattivi (1952).
Famous collaborators Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman’s first work together was Stromboli (1950) where they became lovers, causing an international scandal as they were both already married. Together, they had three children and worked on films including Europa '51 (1952), Siamo Donne (1953) and Journey to Italy (1954). During the 1950s and ’60s Rossellini directed a number of works for the stage and directed his first film for television in 1956.
Standing as one of the greatest directors in Italian film history, and pivotal in the postwar rebirth of Italian cinema, Rossellini’s realistic style strongly influenced the development of important talents, including Federico Fellini and Martin Scorsese.
Presented by the Italian Cultural Institute Sydney