Director : Roberto Rossellini
Stars : Ingrid Bergman (Karin), Mario Vitale (Antonio)
Genre : Drama
A few months ago, I promised myself to watch an old classic at least once a week. Some were unexpectedly good; others were incredibly bad. To me, Stromboli was unfortunately part of the latter.
One of the first things that I found disturbing was the use of the English language by Italian actors. Rossellini surely had his reasons, but this somewhat burst the immersive bubble I surround myself with when I watch a film in its original version. The dialogues just didn’t feel natural at all.
Then came the plot. The audience follows the story of Karin, a young woman who marries Antonio, an Italian fisherman. The newlyweds travel to Antonio’s home island, Stromboli. However, on her arrival, Karin discovers a hostile and brutal world. Unable to get used to her new life, she decides to flee across the slopes of the rumbling volcano.
Poor Karin. Isn’t she pitiable?
Well, not at all! And that’s the problem…
I could describe her in three words: vain, capricious, manipulative. How can the audience feel any pity or compassion for such a despicable person? I’m aware that this kind of character is created to shock and be hated by the viewer. However, I wished Karin’s attitude evolved in some way throughout the movie, to embody something else than an allegory of vanity. I hoped I could have had the opportunity to get attached to her at least once. Not a sausage!
In addition to that, I wasn’t personally pleased with the rhythm of the movie; the slow pacing was sometimes too significant to ignore, some parts dragging on to a point where it broke my immersion.
Style : ★ ★ ★
There were some very interesting shots, judging from the fact that the entirety of the movie was filmed on the island of Stromboli. The scenes of the fishermen at sea were aesthetically pleasing, and Ingrid Bergman’s delicate features were highlighted by every shot. Furthermore, all the extras on the island were remarkably chosen in order to embody the misery and bitterness on this ash-coated bit of land.