In Open City, Paisan, Europa, Stromboli and other films by legendary Italian neorealist Roberto Rossellini, the “reality principle is ephemeral and profound. He helped usher the world back into cinema by mixing authentic people and locations in with actors and studio sets. But neo-realist directors like Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica do not, to paraphrase the critic Andre Bazin, simply deck out a formal story with touches of reality, as if reality were bits of tinsel.
“Instead, they offer fragments of reality that retain all of its mystery and ambiguity and whose meaning we piece together, much as the characters do. Others put reality, Bazin writes, ‘in a cage or teach her to talk, but De Sica talks with her, and it is the true language of reality that we hear, the word that cannot be denied, that only love can utter.'” — from a piece by N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis about a forthcoming Rossellini retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.”