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Otto Preminger said that the history of the cinema was divided into two eras – one before and one after ‘Rome Open City’. Made in 1945, the film is based on events which took place in Rome just one year earlier, during the Nazi occupation and the resistance. It launched the international reputation of its director, Roberto Rossellini, and came to be seen as the founding work of Italian neorealism. In this original study, David Forgacs reexamines the film and its place in Rossellini’s career. He reconstructs its production history, and the film’s relationship to the events which inspired it and the time in which it was made. He also looks closely at its powerful depictions of space in an occupied city and the way particular scenes are constructed. He argues that the film has great value as a commemoration and a documentary record even as it rhetorically reshapes events, people, and places into a patriotic myth.