Stromboli

This is another film free to subscribers of the BFI. The film is important in its own right, but also for the scandal that accompanied it – Ingrid Bergman had written to the director Roberto Rosellini  as an admirer of his work, wishing to appear in a film. Their scandalous affair produced the actress Isabella Roselini. And Woody Guthrie’s song Stromboli with the classic line “put your hand on my hard rock, Ingrid Bergman”.

But back to the film, it’s in black and white, starting in an Italian refugee camp at the end of the last war. Bergman’s character Ingrid is fascinating as she is East European, former wife of an architect, so provides a reminder that not just the poor were displaced. She hoped to be accepted in Argentina but it seems her involvement with the Gestapo put an end to this, so she married a young fisherman from Stromboli. He told her it was beautiful island but made no mention of the many people who had left or the small matter of it being an active volcano. She seeks advice from the priest, but it seems there is no escape from this conservative, primitive community at least unless the couple save enough to follow so many immigrants to the USA.

It’s a fascinating, well acted film, which should be as famous as The Third Man, showing life after the last war. Well worth a watch.

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