Viaggio in Italia (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)
To many critics, Viaggio in Italia is the culmination of Roberto Rossellini's oeuvre. Well, far from being his worst film it's his most personal offering and maybe his best collaboration with Ingrid Bergman.
Katherine (Ingrid Bergman) and Alex (George Sanders) Joyce are a British couple on a trip to Italy to sell Alex's late uncle house. Beside being a business or pleasant trip they are on a journey into the core of their relationship. The film is a reflexion of the Rossellini-Bergman couple. It will be their final collaboration together and they split up at about that time.
Rossellini's camera becomes a microscope on the relationship of every couple that last long enough to feel that it is ending or stagnant. They are at a point where the failure of their marriage is only mentioned by cynical remarks to each other. They both know that their couple is drowning and they don't do anything to keep it from falling apart. They both feel jealous to each other and their incomfort when they are alone with on another reflects their failure and their lack of will.
Ingrid Bergman is once again the best actress of her time as Katherine Joyce. The husband, Alex, portrayed by George Sanders who I think is a perfect alter-ego to Roberto Rossellini for his physical appearance to his tired expression. Their delivery is so real that we feel like we are entering in their intimacy...
Rossellini's style evolved from his first Neorealist films to a more personal approach to cinema, he uses more editing and shorter takes. He seems to master better the narrative elements of his story and the impact of his dramatic elements.
In Viaggio in Italia we see the true or the real Roberto Rossellini, this is why this film is considered by many as his masterpiece.