Thursday, October 8, 2015

Film Capsule: Roberto Rossellini's Fear (1954)

Fear (1954)
Directed by Roberto Rossellini

Befitting its title, this psychodrama, the fourth of five collaborations between Rossellini and his then-wife Ingrid Bergman, trades much of the metaphysical mystery of the pair’s prior projects for a visceral immediacy, transposing years heavy media scrutiny into a self-reflexive thriller. Bergman plays Irene Wagner, the privileged wife of a German scientist (Mathias Weiman) whose extra-marital affair turns ugly when her husband’s former girlfriend (Renate Mannhardt) begins to blackmail Irene in a display of apparent jealousy. This tangled web of infidelities unfolds before a backdrop of post-war Munich, cinematically reconstituting the industrial wasteland the director so memorably detailed in his earlier Germany Year Zero. With his wife as both muse and instrument of ideologic intensity, Rossellini was, in less than a half-decade’s time, able to redefine notions of neorealism, conceive of an integrated moving image infrastructure which Gilles Deleuze would later term the “time-image,” and, with Fear, offer an economical but unmistakably passionate rejoinder to the tired tenets of the genre film. (September 9, 7:30pm at MoMA’s Ingrid Bergman centennial) [BKMag]

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