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Before Neo-Realism: Italian Cinema 1929-1944

Before Neo-Realism: Italian Cinema 1929-1944

Friday, February 9, 1979
9:30 p.m. The White Ship (La Nave Bianca)
Roberto Rossellini (Italy,1931)

Rossellini’s first film as a director was supervised by Francesco De Robertis, and uses proto-neo-realist techniques and a cast of non-professionals in telling the story of a sailor who is wounded in a naval battle. As Jose Luis Guarner points out in “Roberto Rossellini,” the film’s experiments in semi-documentary staging are very interesting, but should not blind the viewer to the film’s didactic aim as a propaganda film for the Fascists, intending to encourage blind trust in superiors, to show that those wounded in battle are immediately cared for, and to demonstrate that there must be no stopping until victory is attained.

• Directed by Roberto Rossellini. Supervised by Francesco De Robertis. Edited by Eraldo Da Roma. (1931, 85 mins, 35mm, In Italian with English synopsis provided, Print Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art)