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ROSSELLINI’S HISTORY LESSONS
Roberto rossellini (1906–77) spent the last fourteen years of his career making what he called pedagogical films, principally for television. In his view, these works constituted a major break with existing cinema; they were a new form, neither art nor entertainment, and the director himself now wanted to be considered as an educator, not an artist.  They included multi-part series on human historical development—the 5-hour The Iron Age (1964) and 12-hour Man’s Struggle for Survival (1967–69)—as well as portraits of innovators in the fields of politics—Cosimo de Medici, Louis xiv—and ideas: Socrates, Augustine, Descartes, Pascal. Rossellini’s account of Man’s Struggle for Survival, in a 1972 letter to the historian of American slavery, Peter Wood, gives a sense of the project’s ambitions:
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