Carmela Sazio, Robert Van Loon, Dots Johnson, Alfonsino,
Cowritten by Fellini, Paisan is a six-episode chronicle of wartime Italy recreating incidents in different locales, from Sicily at the time of the Allied invasion to the marshes of the Po Delta in the last months of the war. A triumph of neorealist method, the film incorporates fictional anecdotes into semi-documentary scenes of astonishing verisimilitude. The episodic structure leaves no time for illusions of completeness or drawn-out sentimentality; instead, it cuts to the essential human qualities of events, always with an instinct for the extraordinary aspects of “ordinary” individual acts. There is much humor and irony in vignettes dealing with the relations between the Italian citizens and the British and American soldiery, but Paisan concludes with stark and moving tragedy.