Anna Magnani’s blend of fiery passion, earthy humor, and unvarnished naturalism made her the symbol of postwar Italian cinema. Launched to worldwide superstardom through her indelible turn in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City, she represented something startlingly new to audiences accustomed to movie-star glamour: here, in all its raw, gritty glory, was life. Equally adept at drama and comedy, she could harness her explosive emotional intensity to move an audience to laughter, tears, or both at once. In an illustrious international career, she gave powerhouse performances for directors like Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Sidney Lumet, George Cukor, and Jean Renoir, who said of Magnani that she is “probably the greatest actress I have ever worked with. She is the complete animal—an animal created completely for the stage and screen.”

Organized by Florence Almozini and Dan Sullivan, the Film Society; and by Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero, Luce Cinecittà. Presented in association with the Ministry of Culture of Italy.

Special thanks to Istituto Luce Cinecittà; Ministry of Culture of Italy; UCLA Film & Television Archive; Academy Film Archive.