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In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather a circle of friends for constant rounds of tennis and parties at their villa with its lovely grounds, keeping the rest of the world at bay. Into the circle steps Giorgio, a Jew from the middle class who falls in love with Micol. She seems to toy with him, and even makes love to one of his friends while she knows Giorgio is watching. While his love cannot seem to break through to her to draw her out of her garden idyll, the forces of politics close in. Written by
a garden of no delights for those who ran afoul of the state
The Italian people probably felt a moral degradation knowing that their government had participated in exterminating Jews during WWII. "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" was probably their way of showing that they were atoning for it. It tells of the Jewish Finzi-Contini family in Ferrara in the 1930s. They are a very well off family (with a false sense of security), and many of the people within the family are falling for each other. Unfortunately for them, not even their social status can protect them from the doom that awaits them.
Much like in "The Bicycle Thief" over 20 years earlier, Vittorio De Sica shows the desperate existences of a few people, surrounded by what many incorrectly assumed to be a joyful world. Wonderful.
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