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Paisa Review

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★★★★

A neo-realist The Longest Day, presenting six episodes set during the liberation of Italy.

There's a mile-wide sentimental streak in its emphasis on orphan waifs and broken hearts, but it's mostly a hard-edged, still-impressive mosaic of the misfortunes of war. It takes a while to get used to the stiff dialogue of the American soldiers who, like the Italian characters, are played by non-professionals recruited for the camera, but Rossellini snatches amazing sequences that are intercut with documentary footage.

All the stories have moments, but the most moving has three US army chaplains visiting a monastery, and the most shattering feature partisan activity on the streets of Florence and in North Italian Marshes. The last image, of executed men thrown into the water, is particularly haunting.