The Solitude Trilogy (1949 - 1953)


In 1948 Roberto Rossellini received a letter from a Swedish actress:

"Dear Mr. Rossellini,

I saw your films Open City and Paisan, and enjoyed them very much. If you need a Swedish actress who speaks English very well, who has not forgotten her German, who is not very understandable in French, and who, in Italian knows only "ti amo" I am ready to come and make a film with you" (Films 17).

This is how he met Ingrid Bergman. The next year they made Stromboli terra di dio together. Shot on location on the small Sicilian island, Bergman had to go without the amenities that the actress was used to in America. Since Rossellini enjoyed capturing natural emotions of his actresses by having them improvise, there was no shooting script. Indoor plumbing was non-existent and Bergman was expected to do all of her stunts without a stunt double.

Their relationship continued to grow personally and professionally. Next, they made Europa '51 a film which Rossellini shot in 46 days, using less than 16,000 meters of film in order to capture the freshness of his actors. (AprÓ 108)

In 1953 Rossellini shot Viaggio in Italia, a film which was abhorred in Italy but greatly esteemed in France, especially among the avant-garde crowd. The Italian leftist critics felt shunned since Rossellini's latest films didn't deal with social issues or advocate social reform while the critics on the right were enraged by Rossellini's private life. By this point Bergman had already bore Rossellini a son, an event which alienated his more conservative followers.

Rossellini's Solitude Trilogy: A New Realism