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Journey to Italy

Directed by Roberto Rossellini

Italy, 1954

Cornerhouse, 15 June 2013

Journey to Italy

Here a couple (played by Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) go to Italy to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased relative.

This seemingly innocuous chore puts their marriage in jeopardy for it transpires that, away from their same-old, same-old social world, they have very little to say to each other.

Rossellini’s film gives us both a travelogue of Italy – taking in Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and various sculptures and icons – and the emotional topography of a fractured marriage, the two aspects of the film steadily coming to refract upon one another.  It’s a to-and-fro, a dialectic, and unless you take both trips you won’t really get the film at all, each of Bergman and Sanders’ responses will seem arbitrary and contrived.  The film will only reward those who, momentarily at least, surrender to it completely.

A worthwhile watch.

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