Made during the Fascist period, and set during the Risorgimento, A Garibaldian in the Convent is, like De Sica’s other earliest films, a romantic comedy (but here tilting towards drama). The film, structured in flashback, has an elderly woman recalling her adolescence in a convent boarding school in the 1860s when a wounded Garibaldian partisan took refuge there. Carla Del Poggio plays Caterinetta, the young woman who comes to the soldier’s aid; María Mercader is Mariella, her schoolmate and rival. —filmhousecinema.com
Few European film-makers combined artistic ambitions with a genuine populist spirit in the manner of Vittorio De Sica. In his prolific career, the actor-director made many films on social subjects which nonetheless engaged a mass audience. A Neapolitan by birth, De Sica came from humble roots, working as a theatre actor in the early 1920s. His stage success led De Sica to films where he proved to be a popular actor, mounting more than thirty film credits before his directorial debut with Rosa Scarlatte (which he co-directed with Giuseppe Amato). Even after his success as a director, De Sica was a much sought after performer; appearing in such classics as Max Ophüls’ Madame de… and Roberto Rossellini’s Il Generale della Rovere.
De Sica’s fourth outing as a director was his first collaboration with screenwriter and film theorist Cesare Zavattini. The Children Are Watching Us anticipated neorealism in its detached focus on a young boy’s growing isolation from his mother. De Sica… read more