Shot on location with a cast of nonprofessional actors, Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece follows Umberto D., an elderly pensioner, as he struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic boom. Alone except for his dog, Flike, Umberto strives to maintain his dignity while trying to survive in a city where traditional human kindness seems to have lost out to the forces of modernization. Umberto’s simple quest to fulfill the most fundamental human needs—food, shelter, companionship—is one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed and an essential classic of world cinema. —The Criterion Collection
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
CC#201: A man and his dog. De Sica, of all people, here crushes the solidarity of the neorealist movement, depicting the frayed generational codes and desperation, with only the uncaring state and bourgeoisie displaying unified fronts. That’s not to say sympathy doesn’t remain firmly with its forlorn working class, but its despondency places Umberto D. as an elegy more than any socio-political rallying cry - yet in so doing, therein lies the polemic (and one that perhaps remains pertinent to its native Italy today). Trenchant, even in defeat.
La povertà,la vecchiaia,la solitudine,l'indifferenza,ma anche la dignità e la speranza:tutto questo è Umberto D.,altra meraviglia sfornata dal binomio De Sica-Zavattini.Un film mai retorico nella sua immensa semplicità,che tuttavia riesce a trasmettere una carica emotiva e uno struggimento che pochi altri hanno saputo avvicinare.Crudo e profondo,con scene di pura angoscia e altre di pura poesia;un film splendido.4*
I was amazed at how simple and heartbreaking this story was, moving me close to tears by the end. Vittorio De Sica is truly one of the masters of the cinema, and it is a shame his career was so short.
As a film about a man and his dog, this could be the best ever made. It never really finds its balance between pathos and comedy, and maybe it doesn’t need to? The use of non-actors seems to result… read review
Umberto Domenico Ferrari is a pathetic man. People just don’t like him. They avoid him. They try and screw him over. Maybe its him. He tells the one person who is good to him – his landlady’s maid… read review
So I pop in the Criterion Collection DVD and people are saying how it’s so fucking touching and sad, and how it’s one of the best Italian Neorealism movies ever created. Well…..let’s see!
Okay… read review