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Domenico, a successfull businessman, with an eye for the girls, begins an affair with Filumena when she is 17 years old. She becomes a prostitute, but also becomes the mistress of Domenico.... See full summary »
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The film follows the anguish of the four-year-old, Prico, after his mother, Nina, leaves his father, Andrea, for her lover Roberto. Prico is sent to his aunt and then to his grandmother. Nina returns when Prico is sick and vows to give up Roberto, even though he persists in seeing her. The family situation gradually improves until they take a holiday on the Italian Riviera. Written by
Vittorio De Sica, at this time better known for being in front of the camera, started to come into his own as a director with this touching story of a family coming apart at the seams in 1940s Italy. The story centers around Luciano De Ambrosis as Prico, a young child who must suffer the consequences of his parents' actions, specifically his mother. Her decision to run away with her lover causes serious turmoil amongst the father and son as well as her sister and the grandmother.
De Sica tells most of the story from the child's point of view, which causes the audience to sympathize with Prico and the father. The one weakness would be that the mother is not as sympathetic as she should be and that takes away from the power of the emotional ending, despite it still being very moving. At times it is almost too hard to watch; to see these people tear themselves from each other is almost unbearable, but De Sica has style and grace in his visuals, which makes it more emotional than difficult.
This was the launching point for De Sica, who would go on to direct The Bicycle Thief and Umberto D. in addition to becoming a world-renown director of realism and family turmoil. While not his strongest, this is certainly a very good film that captures child memories and disturbances and makes us brace for them as much as Prico does.
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