Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
Vittorio De Sica
Umberto Ferrari, aged government-pensioner, attends a street demonstration held by his fellow pensioners. The police dispense the crowd and Umberto returns to his cheap furnished room which he shares with his dog Flick. Umberto's lone friend is Maria, servant of the boarding house. She is a simple girl who is pregnant by one of two soldiers and neither will admit to being the father. When Umberto's landlady Antonia demands the rent owed her and threatens eviction if she is not paid, Umberto tries desperately to raise the money by selling his books and watch. He is too proud to beg in the streets and can not get a loan from any of his acquaintances. He contracts a sore throat, is admitted to a hospital and this puts a delay on his financial difficulty. Discharged, he finds that his dog is gone and, following a frantic search, locates him in the city dog pound. His room has been taken over by the landlady and the now-homeless Unberto determines to find a place for his beloved dog, and ...Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Neorealist Classic (A story of an old man and his dog)
Umberto D was made towards the end of the Neo-realist period in Italian cinema, following on from Roma Citta Aperta (1945),Riso Amaro (Bitter Rice 1946),Paisa (Paisan 1946) and Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thieves 1948). Many critics see Umberto D has the finest example of the genre and Vittorio de Sica, the director, himself considered it to be his best work. Set in post-war Italy, it is the story of a retired public worker, trying to survive on a meagre state pension and being threatened with eviction from his landlady. His only friends are his small dog 'Flick' and his landlady's young maid Maria who has just discovered she is pregnant. Filled with despair over his situation he finally contemplates suicide.
The film sticks firmly to the neorealist conventions; the lead actor is a non professional actor (a college Professor who agreed to play the role), the use of studio sets is kept to minimum and the everyday lives of people are examined in minute detail. One could say that for long parts of the film nothing much happens, for instance when we follow Maria's early morning routine of grinding some coffee, but from these detailed vignettes, we learn a great deal of the thoughts feelings and emotions of the characters. These sequences are why it is a great film. The acting is wonderful, the impossible situations of the old man and of the unmarried but pregnant Maria are really brought to life for the audience. Although a tragic tale it does include many moments of humour and the ending although non-committal is uplifting. All in all a classic.
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