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World War II

Related: Holocaust - Hitler

D-Day is June 6, 1944

Era: 1939 - 1940 - 1941 - 1943 - 1944 - 1945

A war fought from 1939 to 1945, in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, China, and other allies defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan.


World War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving the great majority of the world's nations, being fought simultaneously in several major theaters, and costing approximately 50 million lives. The war was fought mainly between an alliance of the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Britain (known as the Allies), and the Axis Powers, an alliance between Germany, Italy and Japan. Most of the fighting occurred in the European theater in and around Europe, and in the Asian theater in the Pacific and East Asia. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II, Jun 2004

D-Day, June 6, 1944

In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. By far the most well-known D-Day is June 6, 1944 - the day on which the Battle of Normandy began - commencing the liberation of mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II. This article discusses the general use of the term D-Day. Refer to the Battle of Normandy article for a description of the events of June 1944. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Day [Jun 2004]

Nazism [...]

Nazism or National Socialism (German Nationalsozialismus) refers to the totalitarian ideology of the dictatorship which ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945: the 'Third Reich'. In this ideology, the German nation and the purported "Aryan" race were considered superior to all other races. Nazism is usually associated with Fascism.

The dictator Adolf Hitler rose to power as leader of a political party, the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP for short). Germany during this period is also referred to as Nazi Germany. Adherents of Nazism were called Nazis. Nazism has been outlawed in modern Germany, although tiny remnants, known as Neo-Nazis, continue to operate in Germany and abroad. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust [May 2004]

Discotheque [...]


Discotheques originated in occupied Paris during the Second World War. The Nazis banned jazz and closed many of the dance clubs, breaking up jazz groups and driving fans into illicit cellars to listen to recorded music. One of these venues - on the rue Huchette - called itself La Discothèque. -- David Haslam

Post War Culture


In the realm of popular culture, the most striking feature was the spread of a worldwide culture, influenced heavily by the Americans. This was made possible by the availability of cheap transistor radios, television, films, and recordings, and by inexpensive travel opportunities. Popular culture was thus the product of a society where such technologies were commonplace, a society based on prosperity and consumption. The new culture glorified youth, and film stars like Marilyn Monroe (1926-62) and James Dean (1931-55) became international symbols. Perhaps the most famous purveyor of this culture was the Beatles, a popular British rock and roll band. The band members clearly represented the new international, youthful culture of carefree, good-humored hedonism. This youth culture flourished easily in Western Europe, but even Soviet youth clamored for blue jeans and Western music.

[...] --http://www.bartleby.com/67/2702.html

Una Giornata particolare (1977) - Ettore Scola

  1. Una Giornata particolare (1977) - Ettore Scola
    How is it possible that this brilliant masterpiece only received 243 votes and I write only the second comment? Do something about that and go and see this film before you read any further! It is the most human film I've ever seen with one of the greatest performances in history of cinema. Forget about 'Todo sobre mi madre' and 'La vita e bella' as they are surpassed by 'Una Giornata Particolare' by (light)years. It never gets ambitious nor pretentious in trying to capture the 'crucial problems of the world', but instead is an extensive characterstudy that I consider 2 B 1 of the most important films ever made: not especially for its influence on cinema, but for society and for people as human beings (after all, we ARE human). Cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis (Lucky Luciano, Morte a Venezia, L'Innocente) created a sober but beautiful and effective masterpiece and proves that the best films don't have to be expensive. - Rogierr for imdb.com

    The film is set during the late 1930s: the occasion is the first meeting between Mussolini and Hitler. Left alone in her tenement home when her fascist husband runs off to attend the historic event, Sophia Loren strikes up a friendship with her homosexual neighbor Mastroianni. As the day segues into night, Loreon and Mastroianni develop a very special relationship that will radically alter both of their outlooks on life.--imdb.com

    Open City (1945) - Roberto Rossellini

    Open City (1945) - Roberto Rossellini [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The Allies had barely driven the Nazis out of Rome when Roberto Rosselini went to work on Open City, considered by most to be his greatest work. Shot on bits and short ends of scavenged film, this film helped define Italian neorealism. Audiences were convinced that the actors were all amateurs (they weren't) and the whole film was improvised (it wasn't; the three screenwriters included Federico Fellini). With its semidocumentary camera style and use of actual locations, the film does feel very real. Of course, so does the opening half-hour of Saving Private Ryan, and like that film Open City is at its heart a classic war yarn any Hollywood studio would feel at home with. The story involves members of the Italian underground trying to smuggle badly needed cash out of Nazi-occupied Rome to partisan fighters in the mountains, while the Nazis are hunting down one of the underground, a notorious freedom fighter and seditionist. Anna Magnani (an actor well established in her own country who became an international star with this film) is often singled out for her portrayal as the pregnant, unwed woman who gets caught up in the action on her wedding day, but the entire cast is topnotch. The sparse subtitles are both a blessing and a curse--there is less to read, which allows the viewer to concentrate on the visuals, but there are times when non-Italian-speakers will feel like they're missing out on some juicy dialogue. --Geof Miller, Amazon.com

    This shattering portrait of Rome under the Nazi occupation officially ushered in the wave of neo-realist films after World War II. The images have indelibly etched themselves into our minds: the stunning Gestapo round-up sequence, the death of Pina before the eyes of her cassocked altar-boy little son, the torture of the members of the resistance, the courage of the children, the execution of the priest, the earthy beauty of Anna Magnani's face. They all have an immediacy and power that make this one of the most stupendous filmic achievements of all time. If world cinema lacked ROMA, CITTA' APERTA it would be unimaginably poorer. I can think of no better praise. --Gerald A. DeLuca, 2002 via imdb.com

    Rossellini's ROMA, CITTA APERTA (Rome, Open City) was the first significant film in the neo-realist style. Thus, aside from its own many qualities, it is one of the most important films in the history ot the cinema in terms of its wide influence on other film-makers.

    In 1944, a wealthy Roman lady commissioned Rossellini to make a brief documentary about a priest who had been killed by the Germans. She then suggested a second short on the Resistance activities of Roman children. The director decided to combine both themes into a single, feature-Iength fiction film based on the real events and the experiences that the Romans lived through between 1943 and 1944; the action of the film, however, was to be confined to a three-day period. Rossellini and the writer Alberto Consiglio (who had collaborated with him on L'Uomo della Croce, 1943, The Man of the Cross) wrote the first draft of the script; this was then substantially added to by the writer Sergio Amidei, with further additions by the then cartoonist (and future director) Federico Fellini.

    Money was a constant problem as Rossellini's sponsors ran out of funds. He managed to raise small amounts which enabled him to continue shooting for a time, but eventually he was reduced to selling his furniture and his clothes. Film stock was very hard to come by - even when he had money to pay for it - so Rossellini was forced to use pieces of 35mm newsreel stock of varying lengths and quality. Due to a lack of equipment, and for economic reasons, the film was shot mute with the actors dubbing their dialogue later. Most of the footage remained undeveloped until shooting was completed because Rossellini could not afford laboratory costs. Nonetheless, such technical limitations worked to the final advantage of the film. ROME, OPEN CITY has the 'real' appearance of a newsreel, which led to the oft-repeated tale (unfounded in fact) that the film was shot with concealed cameras before the Germans had left Rome.

    Except for three small studio reconstructions, the entire picture was filmed where the events on which it was based took place; the city thus played a major part in the action. While the cast was a mixture of experienced actors (such as Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi) and non-professionals, there is a raw, natural quality to the performances which belies acting. This is aided by the equally 'raw' images produced by the cinematographer Ubaldo Arata, who worked with available lighting. The fragmented construction of the narrative, with many scenes seemingly unfinished, nourishes an excitement that might well have been dissipated by a more polished script.

    ROME, OPEN CITY is a direct portraIt of the time in which it was made; life as it was then lived is reflected on the screen with great authenticity. As important as the historical moment in the film are the characters, who seem to have lives that extend beyond the brief periods that the film captures. It is this quality above all which continues to give the film its power to move modern audiences.

    According to Rossellini, when the film was eventually completed, everyone he showed it to hated it. 'For want of anything better' the Italians entered it at the Cannes Film Festival, where the director claims it was ignored by everyone. However, it was bought for international distribution 'for a crust of bread', and opened in Paris to rave reviews and booming business. This success was soon surpassed in the USA. 'I suddenly went from artistic cretin to international genius in a matter of weeks', Rossellini commented wryly some years later. The film then did well in Italy on the basis of its foreign reputation, but the pattern had been set, both for neo-reallsm and Rossellini. With each new film be would be denounced as a 'cretin' in his own country; neo-realist films would remain most popular outside Italy, finding special favour in France and Britain.

    The elements that made ROME, OPEN CITY into a bombshell which blasted apart the cinematic conventions of 1945 were those that were to make up the theory, and often the often the practice, of the many neo-realist films that followed it.
    -David Overbey, The Movie, No 23. --http://filmsociety.wellington.net.nz/db/screeningdetail.php?id=188&sr=1 [Aug 2004]

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