Open City is a film that I had heard of once, vaguely, in a magazine article, a title that for some reason had stuck in my head until I came across it in a video store years later. Interested, my memory sparked by the title, I decided to give it a try. As a film student I felt obligated to see something other than American dramas.
Having seen the film in the privacy of my studio apartment, in all the breathtaking expanse of my thirteen-inch television screen, I can only say that this film must have felt like an event to anyone who had the good fortune to see it on the big screen. I am unable to forget several of the scenes, not that I would ever want to, and much of the film's commentary is valid to this day -- a mark of a truly timeless film, one which was born out of one kind of suffering and still speaks to us this day, fifty years later.
The performances are subtle, the sentiment universal, and the cinematography precise and memorable, offering up haunting visions of hope and hopelessness for generations of people who will never have to suffer through the kind of war the Italians and countless others did in World War II. Perhaps anyone who ever considers waging war in the future should be encouraged to watch a handful of films on the subject, and perhaps Open City should be chief among them. This is a film that will stay with you long after the final scene, long after the final vision of hope is cast out and reborn.