The film follows the anguish of the four-year-old, Prico, after his mother, Nina, leaves his father, Andrea, for her lover Roberto. Prico is sent to his aunt and then to his grandmother. Nina returns when Prico is sick and vows to give up Roberto, even though he persists in seeing her. The family situation gradually improves until they take a holiday on the Italian Riviera.Written by
THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US might be our favorite De Sica film and one of our favorite Italian films of all time. It portrays with delicate sympathy the suffering of a child whose parents are separated because of the mother's love affair with another man. While the husband and wife are perfectly portrayed, by Emilio Cigoli and Isa Pola, the film belongs to little Luciano De Ambrosis as the five-year-old Prico'. His performance, which runs the gamut of joy, anguish, and sickly fear, staggers us. But of course it was director De Sica who was to work miracles later with the child actors of SHOE SHINE and THE BICYCLE THIEF. The conclusion to this heartbreaking film is no less unforgettable than those of De Sica's better-known masterpieces. It is one of the most indispensable of movies from Italy's fascist era. And it is shamefully unknown today.
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