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Characters have an earthiness that shocks at times
Little Rosetta not yet 12 years of age is growing into a beautiful woman. The villagers view her with lascivious eyes, but she loves only one man....her father Leone, an utter drunkard in the depths of depression because his wife Vipera ( a whore if ever there was one) ran off with a fascist. Rosetta now has this new responsibility...to look after her father...to care for him in his drunken bouts. Director Sergio Citti contrasts his characters nicely...Rosetta with her appealing meaningful eyes, quiet and ever so patient and her boisterous threatening father almost hysterical at times as he recalls life with Vipera cursing her and loving her at the same time.
The assortment of characters in the village are true to life...earthy, gossipy, taunting. Even the children tease Rosetta in a most cruel way when they learn she is pregnant. This is a poignant part of Rosetta's life that is sad in the extreme. And when her drunken father dies from a fall from a bicycle, she has to fend for herself. The next eight years she spends under the care of the nuns in the convent. They are a bitter lot without compassion, condemning her most violently for her sinful life and adopting out her baby.
The Italian country scenery is typical....interesting old crumbling stonework which has seen better days...a wonderful backdrop for the drama which is to follow.
Fate brings Vipera, Rosetta and her son together in the end. Vipera's sense of reality has deteriorated. Her mind is filled with madness. In a fit of hysteria Vipera runs out into a rain storm and lies naked in the street. Screaming at the top of her voice in a terribly demented way she invites an invisible multitude to have sex with her. This is strong stuff. Sergio Citti directs with a firm hand.
This is not a happy film by any means, It depicts the harshness of life that so many have to bear. Sergio Citti pulls no punches. He shows it as it is. But Rosetta never gives up facing each new day. Her eyes speak to you. And strangely her son's eyes seem to match hers. It is Rosetta's eyes that I will remember most about this film. I also like the gentle touch of magic introduced when Leone describes his dream about a white horse. Who says dreams never come true?
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