“Viva L’Italia” is where biopic and documentary meet. The great Roberto Rosselini wanted to make a David Lean inspired look at Garibaldi and his efforts to unify Italy in the 19th Century. The costumes are rich as well as the battles. Yet, something feels off here. History students and scholars will appreciate the effort, but I noticed something while switching between the US and International cuts. This isn’t that gritty for a War film.

But, I guess that’s the Neo-classical European style sweeping into the picture. It’s a film about feeling and nailing that certain aesthetic. If you expected to see “the Thousand” engaged in brutal conflict, you would be disappointed. In that sense, I appreciate a war film about looking pretty. Coming from a master director such as Rosselini, it’s almost foolish to expect something else. Arrow Academy is nailing it with these specialty foreign releases.

Once upon a time, these important films were the sole domain of Criterion. Now, films like “Viva L’Italia” can be discovered now instead of waiting for years to be acknowledged.


  • English language shorter cut
  • New Interview
  • Visual essay


  • 1.66:1 1080p transfer
  • LPCM 1.0 MONO


  • 94%
    Video - 94%
  • 93%
    Audio - 93%
  • 95%
    Special Features - 95%
  • 93%
    Film Score - 93%

The Plot Thus Far

Viva l’Italia is a documentary made after the event, trying to figure out what happened. I tried to place myself in front of the events of a century ago, the way a documentarist would have done who had the good fortune to follow Garibaldi’s campaign with his camera.” Roberto Rossellini To celebrate the centenary of Italy, the Italian government commissioned Rossellini to make a biopic of Giuseppe Garibaldi, one that would follow his exploits with ‘the Thousand’ and their role in the country’s unification. Rossellini approached the film as he had The Flowers of St. Francis, presenting the main character in neo-realist mode, as though making a documentary. Restored by Arrow Films from the original negative, this disc marks the first North American home video release of Viva l’Italia in any format, allowing English-speaking audience to discover another Rossellini classic.


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