In this article, we propose a reading of the historical relevance of Roberto Rossellini’s Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (Rossellini, 1945) in relation to one of the lesser-studied characters: Marina Mari (played by Maria Michi). The character of Marina has been subjected to critical negative responses centred on her narra- tive function, the betrayal of the Resistance movement or the ‘corrupt’ persona of the actress. We argue that Marina, in fact, embodies the convergence of a series of gender, genre, social and historic dynamics that have exceptional symbolic rele- vance for Italian cinematic and social history. We begin with an overview of the connection between Rome, Open City and the antifascist, re-foundational rhetoric that emerged after the Second World War, which ‘preserved’ Italian national iden- tity by assigning culpability to the Germans alone. Following this, through a careful re-reading of her narrative function and visual representation, we demonstrate the radicalness of Marina’s sexual and social identity.
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