Bergman & Magnani: The War of Volcanoes

In 1948, a fan letter arrived for director Roberto Rossellini from Ingrid Bergman, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars; after a meeting in New York, Rossellini invited Bergman to Italy to work on a project. Meanwhile, Anna Magnani, one of Italy’s biggest stars and Rossellini’s longtime lover, was furious. When the Rossellini/Bergman project was announced as a tale set on Stromboli, one of the volcanic Aeolian Islands, Magnani quickly set up her own Aeolian project, financed by Hollywood, to be called Volcano. Italy’s tabloids simply went wild: the prospect of these two great divas battling it out with rival productions was breathlessly followed, especially as it became clear that the Rossellini/Bergman relationship was more than professional. Francesco Patierno has created an engrossing, revealing and highly entertaining chronicle of this cinematic battle royal.