“After eight years of marriage, it seems we don’t know anything about each other.”
When Katharine (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband Alex (George Sanders) travel to Italy to sell a deceased uncle’s house, their troubled marriage reaches a crisis point.
Widely regarded as one of director Roberto Rossellini’s finest films, Voyage to Italy (which, despite taking place in Italy, is primarily in English) tells the quietly devastating story of a married couple on the brink of divorce. When we first see Katharine and Michael, driving to their deceased uncle’s villa, we can sense that something’s not quite right; scene by scene, it’s gradually revealed just how sour things have become between them, as Michael openly flirts with other women, Katharine suggests going out for drinks rather than staying in together, and, eventually, they choose to spend their time in Italy apart.
Not much happens, plot-wise, in Voyage to Italy: Katharine visits tourist destinations on her own, while Michael petulantly heads off to Capri and attempts an affair with a married woman. Rossellini is primarily concerned with showing how each spouse deals with the dawning realization that their marriage may be over — and how Italy, with its ancient history and dramatic landscapes, contributes to this awareness. Things finally come to a head in the movie’s final climactic moments — which, though a little too overly “neat” for my tastes, necessarily represent simply one frozen moment in the protagonists’ story; as in life, who knows what will come next?
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ingrid Bergman as Katharine
- George Sanders as Michael
- Beautiful cinematography of Italian landscapes, streets, and tourist sites
Yes. This is widely acknowledged as one of Rossellini’s best films, and should be seen by all film fanatics.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)