Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice.
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Paisan is the most obvious example of realism spewed out of the Italian neorealism movement. The movie is a compilation of six stories revolving various characters in the post Allied Invasion. The first story is about a squad of American soldiers chasing the retreating German soldiers. The first enter an Italian village where they try to communicate with the locals without success. One of the soldiers then pretends to have family in Sicily and talks to them in Italian. A girl agrees to lead the soldiers to the Germans if they help her find her brother and father. They agree and set out in the dark of night. They reach an abandoned fort and set up camp. After a while they leave the girl and one of the soldiers at the fort and set off to find the retreating army. The left behind soldier and the girl fall in love. Problems arise when enemy troops see a light in the abandoned fort and go to investigate. There they find the American soldier and kill him. In anger the girl attacks the soldiers. The next story revolves around an African American soldier and his relationship with a young gambino. The soldier feels sympathy for the kid when he sees the terrible conditions of his orphan life and runs away. The third story shows a man searching for a woman that he met with at a victory parade. Sadly he overlooks her when he sees her again and they don’t end up together. The fourth story shows a woman searching for a rebel leader MIA inside a German occupied section of a town. The fifth story is about the evils of the German army in relation to American sympathizers in Italy. The sixth story is about a squad of soldiers visiting a monastery.