Cesira and her 13-year-old daughter, Rosetta, flee from the allied bombs in Rome during the second world war. They travel to the village where Cesira was born. During their journey and in ... See full summary »
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Eduardo De Filippo
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Cesira and her 13-year-old daughter, Rosetta, flee from the allied bombs in Rome during the second world war. They travel to the village where Cesira was born. During their journey and in the village, the mother does everything to protect Rosetta. However, on one occasion they both get raped by soldiers hiding in a church. This cruel event is too much for the always powerful fighting Cesira and she suffers from a breakdown. During their stay in the village, a young intellectual, Michele falls in love with Cesira who does not know how to reply to the advances of such a gentleman. Written by
Gerhard Windecker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sophia Loren became the first player to win an Acting Oscar for a foreign language film in Two Women or La Ciociara in her native Italy. She plays the title role here, the other woman being her daughter played in La Ciociara by Eleanora Brown.
The story here is a relatively simple one, Sophia and Eleanora leave Rome due to the bombing of Rome just prior to the Allied invasion of Italy. The political situation is in one state of flux to put it mildly. In a matter of days, Benito Mussolini was overthrown and General Badoglio put in charge of the government. But the Nazis suspecting something was afoot sent in troops and met the Allies in a pitched 21 day battle at Salerno which like Waterloo was a close run thing.
At one point Jean-Paul Belmondo asks a couple of stray British paratroopers who landed way up behind enemy lines why the Allies didn't land in Rome. In fact they almost did land an army there, but Eisenhower canceled the landing at the last moment and probably saved a lot of lives doing so.
But this isn't about great battles, it's about Two Women just trying to survive the ravages of war in the best way they can. Sophia decides their best place is in her old village, south towards Naples. Before the film ends, she's given plenty of reason to rethink that decision.
Sophia was the Best Actress in 1961 for this film and for reasons I don't understand it was not given any other Oscar nominations, including for Best Foreign Language Film and for Best Director for Vittorio DeSica.
If La Ciociara has a fault it's that it's Sophia's show totally. The village characters and that of her one time lover Raf Vallone are left undeveloped. Only the daughter and young intellectual Belmondo who falls for the earthy Sophia seem to be on the verge of becoming three dimensional.
The subject matter could never have been done in an American studio with the Code still firmly in place. I remember back in the day La Ciociara was shown at the art house circuit and many young juveniles considered it a mark of daring to get in and see Sophia Loren expose more than her American films had done up to that time.
Sophia Loren deserved that Oscar, every bit of it. And you'll agree if you see La Ciociara.
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