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aka - Viaggio In Italia
Italy 1953
Directed by
Roberto Rossellini
100 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Journey In Italy

Roberto Rossellini’s film initially appears to be a Cowardesque portrait of a bored, well-to-do English couple, not a little thanks to George Sanders clipped speech and supercilious manner, and part travelogue.  Gradually, however, the film gains in psychological credibility as the depth of attachment that lies beneath the apparent indifference and irritation comes to the surface.

The slight story tells of Alex (Sanders) and Kathryn Joyce (Ingrid Bergman), a well-off English couple who have decided to drive through Italy to Naples, there to sell the villa left them by Alex’s uncle. Their marriage has essentially been one of social convenience and this the first time that they have been alone together.  They do little but annoy each other and when in Naples they go their separate ways. For Kathryn this means visiting the ruins and becoming emotionally overwhelmed by the futility of life. For Alex it means toying with picking up a prostitute or having a fling.

Rossellini carefully manoeuvered his actors into a suitable frame of mind by deliberately withholding from them any scripted dialogue and keeping them isolated within their fictional settings thus driving both actors to let their estranged characters eventually share an emotional vulnerability which rings true.




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