Have I got a Christmas treat for you!
Rewatching Kylie’s vlogs of Italy made me think of a favorite movie of mine: Ingrid Bergman in Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia), directed by Roberto Rossellini. It was also titled Voyage to Italy. Digitally restored, this 1954 classic tells the story of an unhappily married bourgeois couple driving down to Naples from England to sell an inherited villa.
2013 movie review by A.O. Scott at The New York Times – “Voyage” is not driven by the usual machinery of plot and exposition, but rather by a succession of moods, an emotional logic alternately reflected and obscured by the picturesque surroundings. The rich symbolism of the Italian landscape — the volcanic pools at Vesuvius, the ruins of Pompeii, the vistas that have stirred the imagination of artists at least since Virgil — makes the emptiness of the Joyces’ marriage all the more palpable and painful. Their emotional and spiritual sterility contrasts with the fertility signified by the baby carriages and pregnant women Katherine encounters every time she ventures into Naples, and also by the religious procession of the film’s devastating final scene.
“Voyage to Italy” takes place in a series of simultaneous aftermaths — of World War II, of a glorious ancient civilization, of Uncle Homer’s wild life, of whatever passion once united Katherine and Alex. And yet amid all this exhaustion it finds signs of vitality. In its time, this film represented the arrival of something new, and even now it can feel like a bulletin from the future.
During this Christmas Covid season, I can’t think of anything better to do than curl up at home and watch a really good movie. Here it is. Enjoy!