Innocence Lost: The Children of Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy

Understanding wartime maturity was never so poignant.

Rome Open City Roberto Rossellini War
The Criterion Collection

Roberto Rossellini’s scathingly-scripted war trilogy — encompassing Paisan; Rome, Open City; and Germany Year Zero, which has also been called his neorealist trilogy — came after his well-received three films on fascism.

The neorealist elements in these later films enabled his scripts to include things like regional dialects and colloquial speech far more easily than his previous work. This stands out when focusing on the kids in these films.

An essay by editor Alberto Seixas, this video analyzes the different social and cultural impositions and expectations upon these children that this shooting style allows an audience to ascertain from a viewing.

Rossellini’s films are already rich and complex, but his decision to tackle neorealism with young non-actors takes things to a new level of understanding, especially now that it feels even more historically prescient.

Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).