Paisan (Paisà) Reviews

  • Feb 17, 2021

    Paisan is a distinctive vision of the experience of Italians and their relationship with allies and aggressors alike during the Second World War, told through a series of half a dozen vignettes told in Rossellini's blunt neorealist style, contrasting the sentimental romantacism of war as portrayed in many media outlets with a more brutal reality. The first of these episodes is a good example of the strengths of this kind of filmmaking style when applied to the wartime subject matter - the audience is initially lulled into a false sense of security with an idealized portrait of the conflict, as a US GI and a local Italian woman begin to establish a connection despite a language barrier, only to be suddenly disposed of by a passing German reconnaisance patrol, and the actual events of their demise misunderstood by those that find them. Rosselini's chief orchestrating theme is just that: misunderstanding, often through a language barrier, but occasionally touching on cultural divides as well, and it is often profound, as in the two lovers (a soldier and a prostitute) who initially found each other at the beginning of the war, but whose subsequent experiences render them all but unrecognizable to each other, and ultimately a failure to communicate prevents them from reuniting. When it's good, it's great, and must have been particularly stirring while the country was still in the process of rebuilding and the wounds were fresh. But the six stories are of somewhat inconsistent quality, a couple have pacing issues, and the decision to use non-professional actors in places seems to be more of a drag than a touch of sincerity. You can see the influence that the production style would have upon New Wave movements, and the stories are often quite touching, but there are creases that were never ironed out. (4/5)

    Paisan is a distinctive vision of the experience of Italians and their relationship with allies and aggressors alike during the Second World War, told through a series of half a dozen vignettes told in Rossellini's blunt neorealist style, contrasting the sentimental romantacism of war as portrayed in many media outlets with a more brutal reality. The first of these episodes is a good example of the strengths of this kind of filmmaking style when applied to the wartime subject matter - the audience is initially lulled into a false sense of security with an idealized portrait of the conflict, as a US GI and a local Italian woman begin to establish a connection despite a language barrier, only to be suddenly disposed of by a passing German reconnaisance patrol, and the actual events of their demise misunderstood by those that find them. Rosselini's chief orchestrating theme is just that: misunderstanding, often through a language barrier, but occasionally touching on cultural divides as well, and it is often profound, as in the two lovers (a soldier and a prostitute) who initially found each other at the beginning of the war, but whose subsequent experiences render them all but unrecognizable to each other, and ultimately a failure to communicate prevents them from reuniting. When it's good, it's great, and must have been particularly stirring while the country was still in the process of rebuilding and the wounds were fresh. But the six stories are of somewhat inconsistent quality, a couple have pacing issues, and the decision to use non-professional actors in places seems to be more of a drag than a touch of sincerity. You can see the influence that the production style would have upon New Wave movements, and the stories are often quite touching, but there are creases that were never ironed out. (4/5)

  • Jan 12, 2021

    The episodic format was questionable but had benefits, such as being able to focus on narrow themes without shoehorning them together. Technically flawed but so was technology of the time. Resonates after the fact but hard to keep eyes open during.

    The episodic format was questionable but had benefits, such as being able to focus on narrow themes without shoehorning them together. Technically flawed but so was technology of the time. Resonates after the fact but hard to keep eyes open during.

  • Jan 19, 2020

    One of the greatest war movies, especially World War 2, I've ever seen.

    One of the greatest war movies, especially World War 2, I've ever seen.

  • Mar 18, 2017

    There's a conflict of idea and execution, the former being it's strength, the latter it's weakness. It's episodic, which is perhaps the best expression of any war. Just as I get caught up in one story, it drifts away to another. This is sometimes frustrating, yet satisfying in other ways. I was interested in what would happen to the Protestant and Jew at the monastery, but it leaves with their Italian-speaking Catholic leader having some nice words to say about the people that took them in. At it's core is the theme of communication and language barriers, which is a far more interesting point to highlight than the usual battle mission fare. The dubbing was pretty bad and it often has that Godzilla effect. The filmmaking was not always strong, and often became boring to look at it, despite the circumstances being interesting.

    There's a conflict of idea and execution, the former being it's strength, the latter it's weakness. It's episodic, which is perhaps the best expression of any war. Just as I get caught up in one story, it drifts away to another. This is sometimes frustrating, yet satisfying in other ways. I was interested in what would happen to the Protestant and Jew at the monastery, but it leaves with their Italian-speaking Catholic leader having some nice words to say about the people that took them in. At it's core is the theme of communication and language barriers, which is a far more interesting point to highlight than the usual battle mission fare. The dubbing was pretty bad and it often has that Godzilla effect. The filmmaking was not always strong, and often became boring to look at it, despite the circumstances being interesting.

  • Jan 16, 2017

    That's one of the best movies I have ever watched in my entire life. No doubt about it.

    That's one of the best movies I have ever watched in my entire life. No doubt about it.

  • Jan 02, 2017

    A series of short stories, all concerning the Allied invasion of Italy during the second world war. Some are quite interesting but none really develop into something solid.

    A series of short stories, all concerning the Allied invasion of Italy during the second world war. Some are quite interesting but none really develop into something solid.

  • Apr 30, 2016

    This is the second installment in Rosselliniâ??s War Trilogy. It is excellent. The movie is divided into six chapters; each chapter begins with a journalistic quality. Themes are robustly and thoughtfully developed. Rossellini looks at the lack of understanding that can exist between cultures or religions; the presumptions made and the language barriers that exist. He also contemplates the bigger picture where an overarching belief in humanity and pursuit of â??goodnessâ?? can override individual differences. He is critical of the concept of morality; choosing to look at context and circumstances rather than judging with sweeping generalities. The fleeting nature of human connections during war is also addressed; its very much needed, but often dream-like quality. Although at times the acting leaves something to be desired, the script is stellar. Highly recommend this one. The cinematography is especially worth paying special attention to since he filmed these movies just after the war; sets are authentic and reflect each cityâ??s devastation.

    This is the second installment in Rosselliniâ??s War Trilogy. It is excellent. The movie is divided into six chapters; each chapter begins with a journalistic quality. Themes are robustly and thoughtfully developed. Rossellini looks at the lack of understanding that can exist between cultures or religions; the presumptions made and the language barriers that exist. He also contemplates the bigger picture where an overarching belief in humanity and pursuit of â??goodnessâ?? can override individual differences. He is critical of the concept of morality; choosing to look at context and circumstances rather than judging with sweeping generalities. The fleeting nature of human connections during war is also addressed; its very much needed, but often dream-like quality. Although at times the acting leaves something to be desired, the script is stellar. Highly recommend this one. The cinematography is especially worth paying special attention to since he filmed these movies just after the war; sets are authentic and reflect each cityâ??s devastation.

  • Feb 03, 2016

    Paisan, Rossellini's masterpiece, offers a more negative take on the Church than his prior film, Open City. Throughout the film, there are segments portraying individuals trying to overcome cultural differences and come to an understanding amid the chaos and destruction of war. Earlier segments are set in grim and dark urban areas. However, the church segment in Paisan is set in an idyllic countryside setting. The opening segment's narration speaks of bitter fighting in the area, and the soundtrack is full of gunshots and explosions. However, the ringing of church bells quickly drowns out the sounds of war. The location and lack of action seem to be a condemnation of the Church, suggesting disconnection between it and the struggles of the Italian civilians during this time. The segment revolves around the arrival of three army chaplains at the monastery. The monks talk about how nice all the chaplains are, but they are disturbed to learn that only one is Catholic - the other two are Protestant and Jewish. There is a lengthy segment where the priests run about spreading the news, culminating in a priest dropping to his knees and begging the Lord's protection with a Jew amongst them. The monks fear for the non-Catholic chaplains' souls and confront the American Catholic, who echoes the wide acceptance of Don Pietro in Open City. However, this moment is undercut at the conclusion of the film when the American Catholic praises the monks for their faith during fasting - a "humble sacrifice" to save the Protestant and the Jew. He even blames his lack of the same commitment due to his exposure to the horrors of war. Despite this dubious last declaration, the American has a tolerant view shaped by the trauma of the real world that he has experienced. The Italians are incapable of having that same understanding even after the American makes it explicit. In a film about acceptance, the isolated monks are hopelessly intolerant of other religions.

    Paisan, Rossellini's masterpiece, offers a more negative take on the Church than his prior film, Open City. Throughout the film, there are segments portraying individuals trying to overcome cultural differences and come to an understanding amid the chaos and destruction of war. Earlier segments are set in grim and dark urban areas. However, the church segment in Paisan is set in an idyllic countryside setting. The opening segment's narration speaks of bitter fighting in the area, and the soundtrack is full of gunshots and explosions. However, the ringing of church bells quickly drowns out the sounds of war. The location and lack of action seem to be a condemnation of the Church, suggesting disconnection between it and the struggles of the Italian civilians during this time. The segment revolves around the arrival of three army chaplains at the monastery. The monks talk about how nice all the chaplains are, but they are disturbed to learn that only one is Catholic - the other two are Protestant and Jewish. There is a lengthy segment where the priests run about spreading the news, culminating in a priest dropping to his knees and begging the Lord's protection with a Jew amongst them. The monks fear for the non-Catholic chaplains' souls and confront the American Catholic, who echoes the wide acceptance of Don Pietro in Open City. However, this moment is undercut at the conclusion of the film when the American Catholic praises the monks for their faith during fasting - a "humble sacrifice" to save the Protestant and the Jew. He even blames his lack of the same commitment due to his exposure to the horrors of war. Despite this dubious last declaration, the American has a tolerant view shaped by the trauma of the real world that he has experienced. The Italians are incapable of having that same understanding even after the American makes it explicit. In a film about acceptance, the isolated monks are hopelessly intolerant of other religions.

  • Nov 19, 2015

    Italian for countryman, this film is really a collection of six shorts about the liberation of Italy by the Allies. This neorealism classic written by Fellini is full of bad acting, ultra depressive themes, and a fascination with American elitism.

    Italian for countryman, this film is really a collection of six shorts about the liberation of Italy by the Allies. This neorealism classic written by Fellini is full of bad acting, ultra depressive themes, and a fascination with American elitism.

  • Carlos M Super Reviewer
    Nov 18, 2014

    Amateurish acting, terrible dubbing and filming errors apart, this is a riveting example of cinéma vérité centered on many cultural differences encountered during the liberation of Italy by the Allied forces, yet although the first three stories are sublime, the last three are not so efficient.

    Amateurish acting, terrible dubbing and filming errors apart, this is a riveting example of cinéma vérité centered on many cultural differences encountered during the liberation of Italy by the Allied forces, yet although the first three stories are sublime, the last three are not so efficient.