Six separate episodes: would-be suicides discuss their despair. A provincial dance hall. An investigative reporter posing as a husband-to-be. A young unwed mother. Girl-watching techniques of Italian men. A glimpse into prostitution.
A mule cart crosses the countryside. Two bandits push the driver off and, when he resists, kill him. The bandits steal the mules... The town of Capodarso, Sicily. The Baron doesn't want ... See full summary »
Maria is a housmaid and she is being engaged to Berto for fifteen years. Berto has not a lasting job so he is waiting for the death of his uncle Matteo to come into an inheritance. In the ... See full summary »
Francesca, a 17-year old school girl, has a vivid dream of making love to Enrico, a 37-year old divorced architect and family friend. She turns her dream into reality by meeting Enrico during a regular school day.
If this movie is at all well remembered or occasionally revived, it is not because of the director or stars. It is because one of its writers and assistant directors was Federico Fellini. given his later success and directorial vehicles, it is sometimes forgotten that he rose to prominence as a writer of Italian neo-realism movies.
These movies were acclaimed for their efforts to show real people with real problems. In large part they were a response to much of the production facilities in Italy being destroyed in the war and money being in very short supply for film production after the war. If the only setting you have for your movie is the ruined street or the impoverished countryside, you can't ignore that reality in the script.
Director Alberto Lattuada, who had more of a career than promoting Fellini to co-director on VARIETY LIGHTS, directs very competently. Thee story might have played in Italy in 1948 as the story of a woman reduced to prostitution and her American GI lover, but the production people decided to make her lover Black, for shock value in the American market. Lad Carla del Poggia as the woman overwhelmed by events is excellent when contrasted with the cynicism everyone else in Italy seems to show. That gives this movie an upbeat, neo-realist message: things may be bad, but good people can find triumph in tragedy.
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