Last night Turner Classic movies showed the ground breaking Italian movie, "Rome, Open City".
I had seen bits and pieces of it before and thought that it was filmed in the late 50's or early 60's but in fact it was filmed in 1945 at the end of the war.
Just a few months earlier, my father had passed through Rome as the army was cleaning-up the Nazis who had remained. He was on his way to Livorno. As this film was being made, my mother and father were three hours by train north of Rome preparing for their marriage on December 1, 1945.
Livorno was a city decimated by bombing, more so than Rome.
But the priest in this movie is marvelously portrayed as a very human and loving cleric, always in cassock and hat. He's also with the Italian underground working against the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis.
He is martyred by the Germans, but during the firing squad scene, the Italians shoot at him and intentionally miss, thus a German Officer shoots him in the back of the head and the movie ends.
You can find the entire movie with captions on the internet. I recommend it.
And it is so Italian! My mom, in her 20's, had to deal with these fascists and Nazis in Livorno--not a pleasant things at all and this movies captures it.
The priest, before he curses the Nazis who are torturing a member of the resistance says this as summarized by Wikipedia:
They also try to use Don Pietro's influence on Giorgio to convince him to betray his cause, saying that he is an atheist and communist who is the enemy, but Don Pietro responds that anyone who strives to live a righteous life is on the path of God whether they believe in Him or not. They then force Don Pietro to watch Giorgio's torture. When Giorgio dies without revealing anything, Don Pietro blesses his body and commends him to God's mercy (last rites and sacraments cannot be given to someone who has died). Giorgio's refusal to yield shakes the confidence of the Germans, including the commander, who had boasted to the priest and the collaborating woman that they were the "master race", and no one from a "slave race" could withstand their torture.
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