Open City Reviews
In contrast to Don Pietro, the portly middle-aged clown, are the young and handsome communists: Francesco and Manfredi. These two men are who the children aspire to be. The kids roam the streets wreaking havoc and referring to each other as "comrades." Pina sheepishly admits to Manfredi that she believes in God, and her main defense for her desire to be wed in a church is that it is preferable to being wed by a fascist in town hall. As it turns out, the atheist Resistance fighters embody what the people hope to be. The Church is a present force, but a largely incompetent and ridiculous one.
The Church gets redemption, however, in the final moments of Open City. Don Pietro refuses to relinquish the Resistance fighters, despite their lack of religious beliefs, and expresses an enlightened note of tolerance. Meanwhile, Manfredi's torture is reminiscent of the martyrdom of Christ, supporting the idea that religious ideals are powerful and relevant to the time frame of the film. At Don Pietro's execution, all the children who previously showed him no respect come out to mourn him. As they walk away, they are framed against a landscape of Rome, which prominently shows St. Peter's Church. Though the Church has flaws and weaknesses, Rossellini is establishing it - specifically in the form expressed by Don Pietro - as the bedrock of Italian society.
This is what Battle of Algiers would look like if Battle of Algiers was a) good, b) told from the point of view of non-terrorists. Maybe that'll teach Italians to not support fascism in the future. The German chick was weird & left me feeling so. My first Rossellini movie. Can't say it was a disappointment.