E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982) — PICK
Rome, Open City (1945) — PICK
Honored on the 1995 Vatican film list in the “Values” category, Rome, Open City is the foundation of Roberto Rossellini’s “War Trilogy,” now on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection.
Groundbreaking for pioneering Italian neorealist elements, Rome, Open City was filmed in part on the war-torn Roman streets shortly after the Nazi evacuation, with real Nazi POWs playing the Nazi occupiers.Honored on the 1995 Vatican film list in the “Values” category, Rome, Open City is the foundation of Roberto Rossellini’s “War Trilogy,” now on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection.
The story’s moral heart is a celebration of solidarity uniting Italian citizens — ordinary civilians, communist partisans, monarchists, clergy and even children — against the Nazi reign of terror.
While the priest Don Pietro is introduced on a buffoonish note, he becomes an increasingly heroic character, an icon of solidarity and moral authority, echoed in the final shot by St. Peter’s Basilica (San Pietro) looming prominently on the horizon.
New on Netflix this month, Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extraterrestrial remains as singular and powerful as ever: A tale of wonder and loss, it is funny and sad, bittersweet and hopeful. To see it as a child is to apprehend in a way, as so many fairy tales communicate, what it is to grow up. To see it as an adult is to revisit something we have lost but we carry with us (“right here”).
Caveat Spectator: E.T.: Some mildly menacing scenes; crude language; inadvertent intoxication; problematic family situations, including back-story divorce. Rome, Open City: Depictions of wartime torture and violence, including the execution of a priest; references to nonmarital pregnancy; implied homosexuality. Teens and up.