Days of Glory is an extremely important work: the first documentary on the German occupation of Rome and the Italian war of liberation. (It covers some of the same territory as Rossellini’s war trilogy, and Carlo Lizzani has compared it to Rome, Open City, saying that both films are necessary for an understanding of the Italian experience of the war.) Made for the Allies’ Psychological Warfare Branch, the film depicts various key episodes in the work of the Italian Resistance from September 1943 until the liberation of the North in the spring of 1945. Visconti had eight cameras put at his service to cover the trial of Fascist police chief Pietro Caruso; among the electrifying details he captured was the crowd of spectators mistaking a witness for the prosecution for Caruso and killing him. —TIFF Bell Lightbox
Giuseppe De Santis (11 February 1917 – 16 May 1997) was an Italian film director. One of the most idealistic neorealist filmmakers of the 1940s and 1950s, he wrote and directed films punctuated by ardent cries for social reform.
He was the brother of Italian cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis. His wife is Gordana Miletic, actress (former ballet dancer) from the former Yugoslavia.
De Santis was born in Fondi, Lazio. He was a member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and fought with the anti-German Resistance in Rome during World War II.
He was first a student of philosophy and literature before entering Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. While working as a journalist for Cinema magazine, De Santis became, under the influence of Cesare Zavattini, a major proponent of the early neorealist filmmakers who were trying to make films that mirrored the simple and tragic realities of proletarian life using location shooting and nonprofessional actors. read more
As Martin Scorsese notes in My Voyage to Italy, no 20th Century film-maker can lay claim to the unique disposition of Count Don Luchino Visconti di Modrone, the final heir to one of Europe’s oldest aristocratic families. For much of his youth, Visconti exulted in the privileges of his lifestyle. His house was a frequent retreat for the likes of Arturo Toscanini, Gabrielle d’Annunzio and Giacomo Puccini. His lifelong engagement in theatre and opera was imbibed from an early age along with brief passions such as raising horses and maintaining stables. It wasn’t long before Visconti began questioning the limitations of his lifestyle. Inspired by his intellectual yearnings, Visconti wandered away from his comfortable shelter and visited Paris. This would be a turning point in his life. Through his friendship with Coco Chanel, Visconti met French director Jean Renoir. He served as assistant director on some of Renoir’s best films from the 30s, including Toni, Partie de campagne and The Lower… read more