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We the Living (1942)
"Noi vivi" (original title)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 142 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

Doomed love within a corrupt political world. At 18, the beautiful and smart Kira comes to Petersburg as the Communists consolidate power. She rebuffs a cousin who rises in the Party and ... See full summary »

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Title: We the Living (1942)

We the Living (1942) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Fosco Giachetti ...
...
Emilio Cigoli ...
Giovanni Grasso ...
Annibale Betrone ...
Elvira Betrone ...
Sennuccio Benelli ...
Cesarina Gheraldi ...
Silvia Manto ...
Gioia Collei ...
Bianca Doria ...
Lamberto Picasso ...
Claudia Marti ...
Evelina Paoli ...
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Storyline

Doomed love within a corrupt political world. At 18, the beautiful and smart Kira comes to Petersburg as the Communists consolidate power. She rebuffs a cousin who rises in the Party and may remember the slight. She falls in love with Leo, the son of an aristocrat, who gets into political trouble and never gets out. Meanwhile, a Party leader, Andrei, also loves her, and she feigns love for him to get political protection for Leo and money to pay for his TB treatment. But can Leo forgive her being Andrei's mistress? Subplots dramatize Party corruption, the disillusion of those who fought hardest in the revolution, and reflections on the man's individual nature. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

20 October 1942 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Almas Pecadoras  »

Company Credits

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on the novel "We the living" by Russian-born author Ayn Rand. When director Gofferdo Alessandrini read the book, he immediately thought it would make an excellent screen epic, but Italy was at war with the United States and acquiring rights to the novel would be a major obstacle. Taking advantage of the laisser-faire policy of the time, Alessandrini and screenwriter Anton Majano simply decided to use the novel and base their screenplay on it. Whilst he was working on another film (Nozze di sangue), Scalera Film, the production company, asked several other writers to rewrite scenes and alter the dialogue from the existing screenplay, but the final draft ended up being so different from the screenplay produced by Alessandrini and Majano that they both decided to start shooting without a script and just follow the book. The pair wrote scenes at night and handed them to the actors in the morning. As weeks went by, it soon became clear to them that it would take longer than the customary three weeks of shooting to finish this film. They also realised that there was enough material for two films, but they chose not to share this information with the actors for fear they would demand to be paid double. Despite the fact that Rand's book is an overt criticism of the communist regime and ideology, the fascist Ministry of Culture soon became aware that Alessandrini was also using the film as a platform to criticise the Mussolini government. The shooting was interrupted several times by fascist officials who demanded to see the rushes, but Alessandrini had two edited copies of the film: one that would be in line with the fascist ideology and another one which reflected his own vision of the story. In September 1942, after nearly five months of shooting, the film was completed and presented at the Venice Film Festival where it was awarded the Volpi Cup. It went on general release in November of the same year as two separate films, "Noi Vivi" and "Addio Kira!" and proved to be a resounding success with the Italian public who regarded it as an indirect indictment of the Mussolini regime. But the authorities soon got wind of this and the film was banned after five months, all copies seized and ordered to be destroyed but fortunately one negative was kept and hidden. After the war, Scalera Film approached Ayn Rand to secure the literary rights to the film so it could be re-released but she refused. A few years later, Scalera Films went into receivership and as part of the inventory of Scalera films, both "Noi Vivi" and "Addio Kira!" were turned over to a holding company, which relegated them to a vault where they remained for over twenty-five years. It was not until the late 1960's that Ayn Rand was able to locate the original nitrate negatives, still in good condition in the vault in Rome. Both films were restored, combined into one, and released (with English subtitles) in 1986 as "We the Living" at the Telluride Film festival in Colorado where it received rave reviews, over forty years after its original release. See more »

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Edited into We the Living (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
What I think about "We, the living"
20 March 2011 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

This commentary is for the transformed and edited American version of the Italian film "Noi vivi" that was released in Italy in two parts - "Noi vivi" and "Addio Kira!". Unfortunately I haven't seen the Italian integral version, but even in the American version the film hasn't lost the grandeur.

"We, the living" ("Noi vivi" Part 1 & 2) - the film is alive. It hasn't dated and it can't simply be dismissed as anticommunist propaganda. "We, the living" goes beyond that. The film was made in 1942 and the action takes place in Russia (then Soviet Union) from the early 20s to the early 30s. Taking into account the historical facts mentioned in the film, the story maybe takes place between 1922 and 1930. Still the story could take place in Mussolini's Italy or any other country ruled by a dictatorship. To give a very simple definition, the film is about the fight of Man against Society, but this is a too narrow definition as "We, the living" is mainly about love, beauty and the right of each one to choose his/her own way.

Kira, a eighteen-year old girl, goes with her family from Crimea to St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd). They are white Russians (the white Russians were against the communists and they were usually of noble or middle class extraction). In St. Petersburg their life is very difficult. The communists are slowly tightening their grip. It's necessary to adapt to the new reality, but will the communists let them breathe in peace? Kira will know Leo Kovalenski (son of the admiral Kovalenski, shot by the communists), who has become an undesirable and is on the run from the reds. They fall in love, but he's in hiding, he can't be seen. It's all very difficult! In the meantime Kira gets to know Andrei, a GPU (the soviet secret police) officer. Attraction. And this attraction will grow. A love triangle and a dilemma for Kira. Each one of the main characters will face a dilemma.

In "We, the living" the cinematography, the acting and the soundtrack give the film a contemporaneous feel. "We, the living" may not have many outdoor scenes but evokes quite well the harsh Russian winters and the snowy landscape... the plight of the white Russians, the crowded streets and apartments, the disillusion that follows in the wake of every revolution... And Alida Valli, as the young Kira, is quite impressing. Fosco Giachetti, as the GPU officer deserves mention too, the acting in general is first rate. As to the film, there's no need to be afraid of the subject - there's no vulgar anticommunist propaganda (as there were so many!). "We, the living" is more multifaceted than you may think (watch it with open eyes and brain). It's a really moving and absorbing film.


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Complete copy, as once available on Italian VHS. ItalianGerry
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