L'amore (1948)


(director/writer: Roberto Rossellini; screenwriter: Tullio Pinelli/The Human Voice a play by Jean Cocteau/The Miracle a story by Federico Fellini; cinematographers: Aldo Tonti/Robert Juillard; editor: Eraldo Da Roma; music: Renzo Rossellini; cast: Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini; Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Roberto Rossellini; Janus Films; 1948-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)

“Both shorts get great performances by Magnani.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The great Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini (“Stromboli”/”Paisa”/”Open City”) directs a film that is based on two short stories. The first is a one-act play by Jean Cocteau entitled The Human Voice and the second is a controversial religious story by Federico Fellini, The Miracle, that was banned by the Catholic Church in America, due to outcries by the Catholic Legion of Decency, for a number of years.

In The Human Voice Anna Magnani plays a desperate society woman unsuccessfully begging on the phone her lover not to dump her for another woman, in a conversation only heard from her side. It’s based on a play by Jean Cocteau.

In The Miracle Anna Magnani plays a simple-minded naive goat-herder who thinks the silent stranger (Federico Fellini) offering her wine while she tends to her goats is St. Joseph and awakens to find the stranger gone and that she’s pregnant. It results in the locals mocking her piety, while the devout peasant believes the baby she is carrying is Jesus. It’s based on a suggestion by Federico Fellini.

Both shorts get great performances by Magnani, but The Miracle had more depth as a character study and caught my interest more.