Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
Vittorio De Sica
"The Silence" is about the emotional distance between two sisters. The younger one is still attractive enough to pick up a lover in a strange city. The older one -- even though she is very ... See full summary »
Umberto Ferrari, aged government-pensioner, attends a street demonstration held by his fellow pensioners. The police dispense the crowd and Umberto returns to his cheap furnished room which he shares with his dog Flick. Umberto's lone friend is Maria, servant of the boarding house. She is a simple girl who is pregnant by one of two soldiers and neither will admit to being the father. When Umberto's landlady Antonia demands the rent owed her and threatens eviction if she is not paid, Umberto tries desperately to raise the money by selling his books and watch. He is too proud to beg in the streets and can not get a loan from any of his acquaintances. He contracts a sore throat, is admitted to a hospital and this puts a delay on his financial difficulty. Discharged, he finds that his dog is gone and, following a frantic search, locates him in the city dog pound. His room has been taken over by the landlady and the now-homeless Unberto determines to find a place for his beloved dog, and ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
The film has been restored by Mediaset (Italy's biggest private television company) and presented again in theaters in New York, Rome and Milan in 1999. See more »
In the confrontation with his landlady after he returns with Flike, the position of the landlady changes between shots, so that a set of film posters appears behind her and her fiancé in the later shots. See more »
There's an old guy in my family. He's down on his luck. If you try to help him, he uses it as a quick fix and soon goes back to his old ways. He's cantankerous, self-obsessed, contrary. He can light up your day with moments of genuine kindness and cutting humour. People he used to work with would come by now and again when he retired, but gradually they drifted away, leaving him all alone. The people he comes into day-to-day contact with tend to treat him condescendingly, thinly disguising their view of him as a pest.
Every family has one such character. There is no magical solution. You can feel sorry for the guy without really liking him.
Umberto D isn't a likable character, but he is all too human. The small journey from down-at-heel to suicidal is carefully drawn in this quiet, subtle, thought-provoking film. The dog begging, the train speeding past in a whirl of dust and noise, the stranger lying to get away from Umberto's whining; these are small moments of crushing defeat for the human spirit that are finely pitched in this well-crafted film. The film may not be timeless, the score is overly-sentimental and there are jarring jump-cuts. However, the message is universal - Umberto D is an antidote to the white plight movies turned out by cookie cutters in Hollywood about rich misanthropic lawyers who have to take on bad guys. Poverty, isolation, loneliness, and a kind of redemption at the end - unfortunately, they don't make movies like this anymore.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?