Jacob Olsen’s review:
What a magnificent film. And one of the absolutely most powerful films about war ever made.
I must admit that I (think I) remembered parts of this film. I recognized the opening, also the whole thing with the children seemed familiar and I know I had seen the part where the mother runs after the truck. I guess that scene is rather well known. But I had not seen the complete movie and it was about time.
I had no idea that this would be so moving. In part that is due to the realism, it's a «realist» film if ever there was one. Nothing seemed theatrical or artificial in any way whatsoever. It's almost close to a documentary in the sense that it is shot on location - during the war, and that heightens the realism significantly.
Call me a bit biased and ignorant, but I didn't know about the Italian resistance in the way that it's portrayed here. The way it is laid out it probably could be paralleled to almost any other country occupied during any war, it's a universal and timeless story. I must also praise the actors who make very credible characters. The priest (Aldo Fabrizi) maybe in a class of his own, but still.
And the conditions the film were produced under make this an even greater achievement - the filmmakers had absolutely nothing, they even had to buy film stock on the street when they needed more.
This created one minor problem, though. My expectations are raised sky high for the rest of the trilogy. But I can live with that. For a very short period of time.