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Vittorio De Sica
A women lives a miserable life in the basement of her Milan apartment, with her boring inlaws and three children (boys). Her husband has been injured. Her bleak life takes an unexpected turn when she is diagnosed with tuberculosis and has to go to a sanatorium in the Italian Alps. At the medical clinic in Milan she meets young mechanic with the similar health problems. At the sanatorium she meets again the same man and they start a passionate love affair. All good things must come to an end. When she is cured, she has to return to that rathole from which she only briefly emerged. Written by
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A Brief Vacation is a quiet Italian drama from 1973, directed by Vittorio De Sica who was acclaimed for The Bicycle Thief a quarter century earlier.
Florinda Bolkan plays a female factory worker in Milan whose husband's employment has been sidelined for the time being by injury. Thus she is the breadwinner for a family that includes children, a mother-in-law, and a brother-in-law. She already is close to collapse from the wear and tear of her job, and the fatigue of the train commutes to and from it. Family members prove extremely selfish, increasing the stress and burden.
But she has a spot on her lung, a patch of tuberculosis, the equivalent of a golden war wound in combat. There is insurance for health care, and a guarantee of a continued flow of salary during leave for recuperation. The movie makes a welcome shift to a sanatorium in the Alps, where the only demands are to get plenty of sleep and rest and be pampered by the doctors, nurses, and other staffers. This is the brief vacation from which the movie title derives, and brings a chance to meet new friends and a pause to reflect on life. De Sica via the interruption produces another winner.
It might be added that it was a long wait to see the movie again. A Brief Vacation was never released on VHS, and consequently it took three full decades, and the advent of the DVD era, to bring the film to home viewers. Take advantage.
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