The three visually dissimilar but thematically interlocked films made by director Roberto Rossellini, dramatizing the last days of the Second World War and its aftermath, constitute nothing less than the birth of a new European cinema. Many of the technical and stylistic ideas that later flowered in the French and American New Waves, and in the New German Cinema lead inexorably back to the great war trilogy of Roma, Città Aperta, (Rome, Open City), Paisà (Paisan), and Deutschland im Jahre Null(Germany, Year Zero). Photographed in a time frame of three years, theWar Trilogy burst onto the European stage in a riot of festival awards, and made the director the locus of international film at a time when the decimated film industries of all Europe were clawing out of the ashes of ruined cities and struggling to redefine themselves against the backdrop of the Holocaust. Each of the films singly, and the trilogy together, are a cri de coeur, a powerful litany of death, as well as a paean to the human spirit, if not to the literal presence of Christian sacrifice for one’s fellow man…. read on!