The first part of Robert Rossellini’s trilogy on Renaissance Italy follows Cosimo de Medici’s rise to power as Florence’s most influential banker, and his subsequent exile. The trilogy, made for Italian television in 1973, is an attempt to document, in Rossellini’s words, “the customs, fears, aspirations, ideas, and agonies of an epoch and a place.” Rossellini calls them “educational films.” They are that, and more—vivid, concise, and insightful retellings of history graced by one of the most fertile cinematic imaginations it our time.