Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Paisan (1946)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Paisan (1946, It.) (aka Paisà)

In Roberto Rossellini's war-time, neo-realistic, propagandistic docu-drama about the liberation of Italy in WWII - an anthology divided into six episodes or vignettes - it was his second post-war follow-up film to Rome: Open City (1945, It.):

  • in the bleak, ragged, rough and minimalist film - in its sixth and final downbeat episode set in the Po River Delta of Italy, in December 1944: during guerrilla warfare, a group of American-Allied OSS agents, two British airmen, and six Italian partisans had been captured by the Germans behind enemy lines
  • from a long distance away, the camera recorded a moving and horrifying scene - the sacrificial deaths of six Italian POWs who were bound (hands tied behind their backs), and pushed - one-by-one - into the water from the side of a boat to drown (they were not protected under the Geneva Convention treaty); one American officer and one British officer on the shore objected and ran toward the boat, and were quickly gunned down by the Germans; the remainder of the executions were conducted - and the film ended on the watery waves calming down from the body splashes
  • the passionless narrator (Giulio Panicali) spoke (in voice-over): "This happened in the winter of 1944. At the beginning of spring, the war was over"

Italian Partisans Captured




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