Three different stories of Italian social mores are presented. In "Adelina", unemployed Carmine Sbaratti and his wife Adelina Sbaratti survive through Adelina selling black market cigarettes on the street. They are unable to pay for the furniture they bought (which is under Adelina's name), but are able to avoid the bailiff when he comes for the money or to repossess. They come up with a longer term solution to avoid Adelina being prosecuted for non-payment, but that solution has a profound effect on the family, especially Carmine. In "Anna", Anna Molteni, the spoiled wife of a successful businessman, and an artist named Renzo are on the cusp of an affair. Anna is feeling neglected in the marriage, as her husband seems more concerned about success and money than her. But a car accident shows both Anna and Renzo if an affair with each other is really what they want. In "Mara", Mara is a prostitute who works out of her apartment. She befriends Umberto, a young man visiting his ...Written by
This very enjoyable film may be a let down for someone expecting the heights of De Sica's Neorealist masterpieces like The Bicycle Thief or Two Women. However it is very funny in parts and is pointedly critical of Italian society in the boom years of the 1960s. Also Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are absolutely stunning to watch.
For people interested in Italy it is a fascinating commentary on the country that can border on stereotype. Naples (De Sica's hometown) is warm and happy and filled with clever types ready to outwit the system and find their own way to happiness. Milan is cold, rich, and callous. Rome is dominated by the Catholic church and the State with plenty of hypocrisy and corruption. But De Sica finds some humor in all of this.
I found it a little too sentimental but well worth watching. I wish a better (undubbed) print were available. De Sica's career was given a boost by the success of the movie and he would continue to make more great films like The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's and the underrated A Brief Vacation that focus on the injustices of the State and the hardships faced by working people.
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