Vittorio de Sica

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, 1970

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis opens with a series of striking images of nature: colorful leaves, towering trees, sunshine peering through the foliage. But these are the most unnatural of times. A momentary preface reveals the looming tragedy of this picturesque Italian village: the implementation of Mussollini’s racial laws between 1938 and 1943. Beyond the… read more »

Umberto D., 1952

Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti) is a proud, retired civil servant struggling to eke out a meager existence on his government pension. The film opens one morning to a group of pensioners, including the frail Umberto, taking their case for equitable compensation to the streets of Rome, only for their demonstration to be quashed by… read more »

Bicycle Thieves, 1948

A crowd forms in front of a government employment agency, as it does every day, waiting – often in vain – for job announcements. Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), one of the unemployed laborers who participates in this daily ritual, is selected to hang posters in the city, a job requiring a bicycle, which he has… read more »

Shoeshine, 1946

In an early episode in Shoeshine, two boyhood friends, Giuseppe (Rinaldo Smordoni) and Pasquale (Franco Interlenghi), bargain with an opportunistic fortune teller named Anselmi (Maria Campi) over the sale of used American-made blankets before convincing the shrewd woman to give them a reading of their future. As the boys huddle curiously over a deck of… read more »