Vanina Vanini (1961) | Chicago Reader

Vanina Vanini (1961)

Rated NR 1961

Roberto Rossellini's great subject over four decades was the individual interacting with society: characters who shape culture and great figures whose quests for freedom remake the world. Vanina Vanini (1961), one of his last fiction features, is set in the 1820s and centers on an Italian princess (Sandra Milo) who shelters a revolutionary (Laurent Terzieff) out of love, even though he's more drawn to his cause than to her. In their scenes, the camera frequently pulls back and moves sideways, directing the viewer's attention away from the couple as a stable unit and toward the history that surrounds them. Many outdoor scenes are similarly inspired, like the opening montage of Roman buildings that crackles with energy. But the film is uneven, so butchered by its producer that Rossellini tried to prevent it from being shown. In Italian with subtitles. 113 min.

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