Journey to Italy ★★★★★

In his 1950s collaborations with Ingrid Bergman, the great Italian director Roberto Rossellini captured his wife and muse in a light completely different from her glamorous Hollywood persona. Drawn, fretful, and confused, the Swedish star wanders through these films as if looking anxiously at the man behind the camera, begging for direction while the exploratory Rossellini sought emotional truth by dropping her into alien landscapes. It's a harrowing series of portrayals of unsettled female consciousness, and also a glimpse into a complex behind-the-scenes romance as revealing as the films Josef von Sternberg made with Marlene Dietrich some 20 years earlier. If not quite their The Devil Is a Woman, the 1954 masterpiece Voyage to Italy is similarly awash in the emotional unease of a relationship racing to its end, a meta sketchbook where the disillusionment of the protagonists seems to irresistibly mirror that of the actress and the filmmaker. That out all of this emerges one of cinema's most transcendently hopeful works is the kind of contradiction surely appreciated by Rossellini, an analytical yet emotive visionary who could film miracles as if they were part of the everyday fabric of life.

Full review at Slant Magazine: www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/voyage-to-italy

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