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Directed by Roberto Rossellini

Italy 1952 113 mins. In Italian

The second collaboration between Rossellini and Bergman chronicles the life of a wealthy American woman living in Rome who is thrown into turmoil when her young son commits suicide over what he perceived to be her lack of affection for him. The woman’s grief leads her to the realization that she has been living a shallow, bourgeois existence and propels her to change her ways. As if on a spiritual quest, she begins devoting her life to helping the less fortunate—a sick prostitute, an unwed mother with numerous children, and a young boy—all of which disturbs her husband in tragic reaction. While the film has been viewed as Rossellini’s vision of the state of the world in all its confusion, many also read it as an exploration of Ingrid Bergman’s personal struggle.

Genres: Neorealism