In the Paris of the late 19th century, Louise, wife of a general, sells the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding gift: she needs money to cover her debts. The general secretly buys ... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice. Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies ... See full summary »
Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to living in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in need ... See full summary »
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
A barber, murderer because of jealousy, spends twenty years in jail. He cannot, however adjust himself to a changed world and to the hypocracy of his own relatives and decides to return ... See full summary »
An old woman finds a baby among the cauliflowers in her garden. She takes care of the orphan, and calls him Totò. When she dies, he is sent to an orphanage, which he leaves as a teenager. ... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Karen, a young woman from the Baltic countries, marries fisherman Antonio to escape from a prisoners camp. But the life in Antonio's village, Stromboli, threatened by the volcano, is a tough one and Karen cannot get used to it.
Genoa, 1943. Grimaldi is a swindler, pretending to be a colonel in the Italian army to get money from the family of people put into jail by the Nazis. Once caught, the Gestapo makes a deal with him : he will stay alive if he impersonates the General Della Rovere, a leader of the Resistance who has just been shot by the Nazis, to be put into a political jail where he is supposed to identify another Resistance leader. Written by
The story of the film concerns "Colonelo" Bertone a self-appointed community intercessor and thief in World War II Italy, passing on bribes from families to the Germans in order to help their sons (or gambling away the bribes and eating their food parcels). It's definitely a film of two halves, the first half of the movie to me feeling decidedly Pasolinian. Bertone, though undoubtedly a scoundrel does his best to keep people happy, is a character that spreads a certain amount of charm in the world. For some people who have never known love or had anyone to look up to, he provides a show, his charisma is like ambrosia. Having been brought up with Protestant vales it has been a revelation to me in life how people value charm as most precious, a Veblen good, more prized when it is most demanding, how a charming person is valued above all others even when they live in a moral vacuum.
The second half of the movie is, in structure, a more conventional prison movie where Bertone, working for the Germans in order to save his skin, becomes an impostor pretending to be Generale della Rovere. Whilst pretending to be the general he begins to assume many of the general's characteristics. This part of the film is very patriotic, and contains a beautiful fresco of Italian cities on the prison wall. The ideology of this part of the movie is all about recognising the efforts of the largely Communist, Partito d'Azione and Socialist partisan resistance, bodies who were largely excluded from the post-fascist Italian government, which was dominated by the Christian Democrats, who many felt to have been tainted by association with fascism.
Pontecorvo's movie Kapò was released contemporaneously, and features a similarly caricatured version of the Teutonic gaoler and slightly ebullient view of World War II, that would become refined in future decades. That said, Il Generale della Rovere, is undoubtedly a masterpiece.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?