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January 25, 2010


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Jason M.

Oh, man, how great would it be to have Criterion do a DVD or even a Blu-Ray of Rosellini's INDIA? Just sayin'

Which is, of course, not to say that a set of the films he made with Ingrid Bergman wouldn't be amazing, either...

Regardless, really looking forward to checking out this set when it gets here.


"It's quite unnerving to consider the fact that, up until this Criterion reconstruction, Paisan was for most intents and purposes a lost film."

PAISAN popped up on TCM about a year, year and a half ago, as part of a series of films chosen by John Sayles. I DVRed it, having not-too-long-before seen and loved ROME, OPEN CITY. But the print of PAISAN must have been the worst I've ever seen on TCM, or any other channel. I just couldn't watch it. So I'm thrilled Criterion got it out there.

greg mottola

The first time I got to see Paisan was a long ago at a film festival in Turin -- and it was without subtitles. Such is the power & clarity of Rossellini's direction that I had felt completely immersed in its intricacies despite understanding none of the dialogue. Criterion has done a great thing restoring these films. Now if someone can just talk to them about Satyajit Ray...

Joe A.

Sorry to emerge from lurking for a SNOOTish reason, but shouldn't Dave Kehr have said "impossible to overestimate" rather than "impossible to underestimate"?

I too look forward to seeing the cleaned-up PAISAN.


And the Netflix queue swells anew.

I'd heard of Paisan before, and couldn't quite place it until I read Bill's comment - it was on a list somewhere of Sayles's favorite films. That's an imprimatur I take to heart, by golly.

NB that Rome Open City is available to watch instant on Netflix.


This is a must for me-- PAISAN is one of my favorite films, and I've longed for a good copy for a while. When you throw in the other two, excellent films and all those extras you mentioned, well...the credit card will get a workout, I think.

Chris O.

Nice write-up. Look forward to these. Not to get off-topic, but...

@Zach: Speaking of Sayles, did you know there's a production blog for his latest? http://johnsaylesbaryo.blogspot.com

@greg mottola: Agreed on Ray. And did anyone else notice Altman's STREAMERS made it to DVD last week? I didn't see it mentioned anywhere.


@ Chris O. - I did know that! Very exciting stuff. I'm not sure, but I get the sense that Sayles's stuff hasn't been very lucrative lately, and the always uphill slog had gotten even more steep, so it's inspiring to hear that he's making another film (not to mention that he has an unpublished novel in the hopper.) "Honeydripper" was woefully under-appreciated. Not to get on a rant, but who else in American independent film has such a grasp of history, politics - not to mention such talent for character and story? I think it's one of the great blind spots of the critical establishment (whatever the hell that means now) that he doesn't get more love.

Anyway, there are some pretty distinct parallels to Sayles's content and approach & Rossellini's, so hopefully this isn't too much of a tangent...


Re: Glenn's comment on Rossellini and Screwball comedy - I guess DOV'È LA LIBERTÀ...? / Where is Freedom? is probably as close as he got.


I have never really responded to Rossellini the way so many do (remembering the Cahiers crowd and also that random cinephile in Before the Revolution - "Rossellini is god" or something to that effect, which seems ironic given Bertolucci's flamboyant tendencies). His holy simplicity has often struck me as, well, just plain simple. Except maybe for Flowers of St. Francis (a blind buy, and a satisfying one) Voyage to Italy is the one I probably liked the best, but not without wondering if perhaps Antonioni ended up superceding the intriguing movie with his own more dynamic work. Anyway, I've seen the films in this particular series, but never in great prints so I look forward to the Criteiron refurbishment.

That said, last week I watched Stromboli for the first time and was blown away. I first saw clips in Scorsese's Italian cinema series and was impressed - but I'd been intrigued by other Rossellini selections I'd seen before only to be disappointed on screening the whole film (Europa '51, whose appeal completely mystified me when I finally saw it, being a prime example). But the fish scene - which I'd recalled as impressive without remembering quite why (god, those fucking fish are ENORMOUS!) blew me away anew, and the film as a whole seems to capture that rugged, rough mixture of melodrama and documentary which Rossellini's particular - and peculiar - brand of neorealism is characterized by (indicated, in no small part, by the co-casting of provincial nonactors alongside a Hollywood goddess, both holding their own surprisingly well against potential pitfalls).

I would LOVE to see Criterion get their hands on that!

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