Viaggio in Italia (1954)
Viaggio in Italia - Journey to Italy (1954) dir. Roberto Rossellini


Viaggio in Italia is Rossellini's film about a couple - played by Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders, best known as the voice of Shere Khan, who visits Italy and learns they despise each other. Or rather, it seems they've known it for a long time, but haven't admitted it to each other.

The best scene is the first scene, of Bergman and Sanders in the car. This scene seems the most modern. It has a 21st century pacing; Rossellini allows for space between dialogue and action. The couple is allowed to simply sit, and we hear the car and the road, dubbed in a realistic fashion.

Although the rest of the film lies closer to 1950's convention, its realism-ish style continues throughout, and it is this very realism that makes the climax so believable and so emotional. It works in much the same was as a Danish film made the next year, Ordet. The realism makes the miracle at the end seem like an ordinary, normal part of life and molds the supernatural with the natural. While Ordet is Protestant and Viaggio in Italia Catholic, this view of the ever-present miraculous exudes from both.

Viaggio in Italia is #87 on the Top 1000 Films listI’m working on.  I’ve now seen 395.