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The Art of the Movie Masterpiece
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The Art of the Movie Masterpiece
With Dr. Victoria Kirkham
Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 2:00 pm
In this 1945 Roberto Rossellini classic, the director dramatizes Italian heroism against the Nazis during winter of 1943-44, the darkest months of the War.
Rather than risk destruction of its treasures, authorities “opened” the Eternal City to German occupation. Awaiting the Allied Liberation, working-class Romans courageously resist their oppressors in underground activity led by a Partisan priest.
The film, based on a true story, is a powerful anti-fascist statement. A young Federico Fellini contributed to its screenplay, and it made Anna Magnani an international star.
Rome, Open City, foundational in Italy’s post-war cinema, is defining for the style known as Neorealism (Neorealismo). In 1946 it won the world’s highest prize for filmmaking: the Grand Prix at Cannes, predecessor of the Palme d’Or.
What makes it a great film? Why has it endured to earn the label “classic”?
Victoria Kirkham is a Professor Emerita of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught Italian cinema for twenty-five years.
This program, for which participants will prepare by watching the film at home with the aid of an emailed handout, will bring us together for an hour with PowerPoint visuals to analyze aspects of the movie that can guide you in future film viewing: casting, camera shots, lighting, sound effects, frame composition (mise-en-scène), editing, and symbolism. Rome, Open City is available for rental on Amazon and the Criterion Channel; it is free on Kanopy with a Free Library card. YouTube also has it, but in Italian without subtitles.
This will be an online event hosted via Zoom Conferencing. You do not need a Zoom account but you will need to download and install the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device to join the event. Please email us at
in advance if you need assistance installing the Zoom app. If you cannot join the event using your computer or mobile device and the Zoom app, you can join the event via teleconference and hear the audio portion. You will receive an email a day or so before the event with a link to the meeting, the Meeting ID, call-in telephone numbers and instructions for joining the meeting.
Please register on the Penn’s Village website, by emailing
, or calling 215-925-7333. This program is free of charge to our members and volunteers. Guests will be charged $10, and may attend up to three programs before being asked to join and/or volunteer with Penn’s Village.
Penn’s Village welcomes and actively encourages an inclusive and diverse community of members, staff, Board of Directors and volunteers. Inclusiveness and diversity mean welcoming all and excluding no one because of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social-economic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs or political beliefs.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 2:00 PM until 3:30 PM
A Zoom meeting link and details is included in the confirmation and reminder emails.
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Registration cancellations will be accepted
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