This review is featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Little White Lies. Journey to Italy is currently playing in a restored print throughout the US and UK.
Often credited as the first work of the modern cinematic age, Roberto Rossellini’s 1954 film Journey to Italy pivoted on a spirit of emotional and artistic restlessness. It’s a spirit that its director — and soon, his medium — would work toward reconciling with that of a society on the brink of technological and ideological revolution.
Like the characters it depicts, however, Rossellini’s masterpiece — playing in a restored print at London’s BFI Southbank — arrives at transcendence only by threatening a rupture in unity. Presented as a natural by-product of the neo-realist methodology Rossellini helped to coin, Journey to Italy is a film which treads this radical new path via a convergence of traditional melodrama, documentary-based intimacy and a streak of raw vulnerability prompted by the clandestine affair and eventual marriage of the film’s director and leading lady.