Viaggio in Italia
Alex and Katherine Joyce arrive in Italy to sell a property in the Naples area they have inherited from “Uncle Homer”. He is sarcastic, she is critical. When the two are together, there is very little to say: to fill the silence, the spouses push each other away through work, hysterics, jealous scenes, and arguments in their Bentley. Bored with themselves and with their lives, they experience epiphanies in Naples, Pompeii and at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Their faith in the miraculous is stronger than their withering marriage.
Director Roberto Rossellini has mostly remained silent about this film and has hardly given any interviews. In a rare exception, 11 years after the film’s release and the lukewarm reviews that Journey to Italy received, he attributes it as having a tone of bitterness, explaining that to watch it would be to unwillingly strip naked. Thanks to the contributions of French film critics and Martin Scorsese, the final part of The Solitude Trilogy (which also includes Stromboli (1950) and Europa ’51 (1952)) that Rossellini made together with actress and his wife at the time Ingrid Bergman, the film is now not only interpreted as being a mirror of their relationship. It is an odyssey of modesty in which Rossellini’s highly individualistic style moves from neorealism to modernism, while Italy’s rich natural landscape becomes a protagonist in its own right.