Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Massacre in Rome |
Actors: Richard Burton, Marcello Mastroianni, Leo McKern, John Steiner, Anthony Steel
Director: George P. Cosmatos
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Torn from the pages of history comes the true account of one of the most devastating massacres in the chronicles of modern warfare. March 1944. With the fortunes of war turning against the Third Reich, Nazi-occupied Rome... more »
Massacre in Rome
Petter Sellers | 12/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film "Massacre in Rome" is a film that conveys the orchestration of the retaliation plan in regard to the assault of the Italian national partisans against the SS brigade stationed in Rome during the WWII era.
We closely watch the orchestration of that massacre through the intrusive look behind all the closed doors at the SS headquarters, the Police Department of Rome and the Roman Catholic Church.
The director provides us a documentary view as if there was a camera within those headquarters and we are thankfully ridden of any over dramatization that certainly destroys the very essence of political cinema. Simply watch all the reasoning and the agendas followed by the implicated authorities to simple matters (such as the number of people to be executed for every dead SS officer. All of them remain very interesting in respect of understanding diplomatic games and saving face against the opponent as well as to the higher ranks.
This is a political film in the very same tradition of the film "Z" where the dialogues are realistic, the pace is timely increasing and the actors are serving the actual characters' reasoning and do not think for one single minute to ride upon their star status.
Richard Burton and Marcello Mastroianni along with a group of excellent actors entice us in a magnificent piece of historical representation. The film rightfully condemns the executioners along with the authorities whose apathy was just as crucial for the execution of all the innocent Italian prisoners.
The end of the film presents the massacre that may have disappointed many viewers due to the fact that it is compared to the today's graphic depiction of violence in films. One though can rightfully hold a different opinion that is based on the character portrayal that sometimes is perfectly stated on the faces of the executioner and the innocent.
The film credits give a list of all the names of the people killed."
The bureaucracy of evil
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 02/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Massacre in Rome (aka Rappresaglia) is a surprisingly sober look at the bureaucracy of evil. Focussing on the murder of 335 Italian civilians as reprisal for the killing of 33 SS men, it shows how the moral questions were submerged under the purely practical problems of logistics - where do you find them at such short notice? What if there aren't enough prisoners in jail or Jews in custody to make up the numbers? Where do you carry it out? Where do you dispose of the bodies? Who pulls the trigger? How drunk do you have to get your men to finish the whole operation in 24 hours? Throughout, moral implications and guilt are sidelined by paperwork, not just by the Nazis but also the Vatican, reluctant to get involved and still clinging to the belief that the Nazis are their only defense against the atheist threat of communism. This being an Italian film, however, a fictional composite of those priests who did attempt to avert the atrocity is included to avoid offending the faithful (Marcello Mastroianni's priest meeting his crisis of faith in a similar way to Matthieu Kassovitz's similar character in 'Amen' that can be interpreted as either rejection or vindication of his faith). Ironically, the only voices raised in moderation against the reprisal are Germans, because "We don't want our names read out on the BBC, do we?"
For someone who spent most of his career churning out hackwork, George Pan Cosmatos' direction is more than solid enough to avoid most of the usual international co-production pitfalls, trusting the material and, for the most part, keeping the cast from grandstanding. Richard Burton isn't at his peak as the officer in charge, but considering how bad his other work was during this particularly drunken period, Cosmatos gets a remarkably controlled performance out of him that avoids ham and bluster to good effect. Leo McKern does ham it up (although in fairness the Nazi he plays was even less restrained in real life) but Peter Vaughn and John Steiner more than compensate.
Although it does a good job of portraying the way the Germans dominated their fascist `allies' in the last weeks of the invasion of Italy, the script does occasionally lack historical perspective (the Nazi measures in Rome that partially provoked the partisan attack are barely raised), although NoShame's 2-DVD set does fill in these gaps with substantial interviews with Italian partisans and historians. Marcello Gatti's cinematography is also particularly impressive, with a great use of the strong, deep blacks you never see in movies anymore. The massacre sequence itself is slightly botched: the editing is awkward and the scene too tasteful to evoke much of a response. Instead, the most lasting impression is made by the end credits - a list of those murdered that, even in two columns and rolled by very quickly, takes a full two minutes to pass.
A Different Kind of List
EddieLove | NYC, USA | 03/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Admirably appointed DVD of a largely forgotten 70s international production. After Italian partisans attack Nazis in Rome, a vicious and disproportionate reprisal is undertaken. Burton plays the German officer tasked with assembling the names of those who will be executed -- it's like the opposite of Schindler's List as we see the banal bureaucracy of this hideous undertaking. The rather dull action scenes at the start of the picture take up too much time though, and the dramatic heart of the piece doesn't get the attention it merits. The script could have used some Robert Bolt-style depth. Burton's good as the conflicted German, counting on putting his consciences' fate in the hands of his soldier's remove. Marcello's less compelling as the priest who put's the German's acts into perspective. (And Leo McKern overacts a storm.)"