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
A Perfect Match of Child Actor and Legendary Director: Honest Storytelling
Once in a great while, a child actor and a director are perfectly matched so that the child delivers an indelible performance that etches itself firmly into film history, as Jean-Pierre Leaud did for Truffault in The 400 Blows, or Haley Joel Osment accomplished for Shamalyan in The Sixth Sense; The child Luciano De Ambrosis performs with an incredible sensitivity to the insensitive adults around him, a mother and father who search for their own bliss while forgetting their child's well-being. Because it was released during WWII in Italy, DeSica's early effort did not receive the kudos it deserved, but deserves to rank in the pantheon with Bicycle Thief and Umberto D; it's a simple story of learning bitter lessons, with a memorable, well-defined sense of time and atmosphere.
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