But was the film itself dismal? In Umberto D., two very smart filmmakers had the courage to jerk tears, and created a masterpiece. He had spent his life in show business; in his youth, he had been Italy’s most popular star. Umberto D. This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery. But what Zavattini and De Sica had established with these earlier films they brought to a close with Umberto D. Although the picture won the support of viewers abroad—the New York Film Critics Circle voted it best foreign film of the year, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Zavattini’s script for best screenplay—Umberto D. was a miserable flop at the Italian box office. For the beginnings of an answer, one need look no further than the first images of Umberto D., which dramatize an impromptu street demonstration by old-age pensioners. Still homeless and nearly penniless, Umberto scampers down the park lane with his dog. The great critic I. exemplified by Umberto D., released in Italy in 1952, and after a slow commercial reception, released abroad and in the U.S. in 1955. "Umberto D" is one of the most successful demonstrations of that theory. Yes, poverty and old age bear down on Umberto, in ways that are specific to Rome in the early fifties—but the key problem is indecency. The street, shown in deep focus, appears to have more than enough space to accommodate the crowd. His landlady (Lina Gennari) is evicting him, and his only true friends, the housemaid (Maria-Pia Casilio) and his dog Flike (called 'Flag' in some subtitled versions of the film) are of no help. Check out Umberto D (Original Soundtrack 1952 Umberto D) by Alessandro Cicognini on Amazon Music. This poignant story about a poor retiree facing eviction dutifully follows the neorealist template, with its plotless narrative, location shooting, and nonprofessional actors. However, when he makes a veiled plea for a loan to one of his friends who has a job, the friend refuses to listen. Umberto D. – włoski dramat z 1952 roku w reżyserii Vittoria De Siki, będący jednym z ostatnich filmów zaliczanych do neorealizmu włoskiego[1]. Umberto D. is the film that I prefer among all those I have made, because in it I have tried to be completely uncompromising in portraying characters and incidents that are genuine and true. The landlady is getting married. A. Richards once remarked that you could characterize an era of history according to a certain choice between anxieties: were people more worried about being thought sentimental or stupid? At first Flike warily hides, but eventually Umberto coaxes Flike out to play with a pine cone. Jump to ↓ Selected Key Publications Research Interests Projects . New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Film, New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Umberto_D.&oldid=994913985, Films with screenplays by Cesare Zavattini, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Ileana Simova as the woman in Umberto's room, Memmo Carotenuto as a patient at the hospital, Alberto Albari Barbieri as Antonia's friend, Vittorio De Sica was nominated for the Grand Prix –, This page was last edited on 18 December 2020, at 05:30. Umberto Domenico Ferrari, an elderly and retired civil servant, is desperately trying to maintain a decent standard of living on a rapidly dwindling state pension. Critics today tend to like the astringent parts: the long, deliberately undramatic sequences full of mundane activity (such as a housemaid’s morning routine), performed with … Umberto D was the last of the great cycle of Italian neo-realist films from director Vittorio de Sica. In one of the most controversial films of his career, David Cronenberg adapts a scandalous J. G. Ballard novel, radically overhauling its story to address a society paralyzed in the headlights of a new millennium. [1] The film's sets were designed by Virgilio Marchi. He returns to his room, and finds that his landlady has rented it out for an hour to an amorous couple. It seems to us that the world fame that our directors have rightly acquired gives us the right to demand that he accept his duty and fulfill this task.”. A masterpiece of Italian neorealism, Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D. would also prove to be the last great film from the movement. Neorealism intends to provide nothing but realism and the tedious aspects of life, but its dramatization is a desperate attempt, a cry, rather, for reform within the infrastructure of societal and economic norms. Umberto D. is a film directed by Vittorio De Sica with Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari, Memmo Carotenuto, Alberto Albani Barbieri. Umberto D. – włoski dramat z 1952 roku w reżyserii Vittoria De Siki, będący jednym z ostatnich filmów zaliczanych do neorealizmu włoskiego. Perhaps this fact accounts for the movieness of Umberto’s interactions with him—a movieness that offends people who want a “perfect aesthetic illusion of reality,” giving the impression of “no more cinema.” But De Sica was not necessarily one of these people. One of the marchers is Umberto D. Ferrari, a retired government worker. This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery. Umberto D ( 1952) This Italian neorealist film was named as one of Time Magazines "All-Time 100 Movies" in 2005. U mberto D. is perhaps the most astringent film ever made about a poor old man and his dog. Capturing the tense mood of a new millennium, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature explores the hidden spaces of Mexico City at a moment of political turbulence and extreme social stratification. He packs his belongings, and leaves the apartment. Umberto's room has a gaping hole in the wall; the maid tells him it is to become part of an enlarged living room. His person—embodied by the nonprofessional actor Carlo Battisti, a Florentine professor of linguistic science—is distinguished by an alert, somewhat rabbity face and fussy manner, which hint at a lifetime of intelligence expended to no real effect on the world. If I make this character scheme sound more diagrammatic than it actually plays, it’s only to make a crucial point about what Umberto D. is not. She threatens to evict Ferrari at the end of the month if he cannot pay the overdue rent: fifteen thousand lire. You might imagine, for example, that the Christian Democrats’ political rivals would have rallied to the film. Subsequently, they saw Umberto D. as too critical of the pride they were trying to engender in themselves. Shoeshine (1946) and Bicycle Thieves (1948) had brought into focus, for domestic and international viewers alike, the intuitions, concerns, and methods of Italy’s best postwar filmmakers, and so had established neorealism as a movement. Finally in desperation, Umberto takes the dog in his arms and walks on to a railway track as a speeding train approaches. He knew that sentiment is as legitimate a mode of storytelling as irony or satire, so long as the sentiment is honest—which I believe it is in Umberto D. If the main character feels that his humanity itself is slipping away, his sense of being a proper man, then why shouldn’t he have a sentimental relationship with a dog? The impact on critics was enormous. De Sica (1901-1974) said his method was to form a mental image of a character while working on the screenplay with his longtime collaborator Cesare Zavattini. When I say that Umberto D. pushes neorealism to new extremes, then, it’s not only because of the film’s extraordinary concentration on the mundane but also because of its subject matter, which goes to the limit of social criticism. The event has the circumstantial brusqueness of a news item—one of those fatti di cronaca that Zavattini liked to use as seeds for his stories. Beggars abound in the film, soup kitchens and charity wards extend their provisional shelter; but Zavattini also makes it plain that Umberto needs these resources partly because he ran up debts, while other pensioners are in the clear. Umberto D bears witness to society’s inability to change so as to cater to the needs of all its people rather than just the elite. An elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome. The landlady refuses to accept partial payment. AKA: A sorompók lezárulnak. Made in 1952 it is both a shining example of the movement and perhaps its last gasp. A delicately-crafted product of its era, Umberto D defines, and concludes, the first age of Neorealism. As an educated, middle-class man, he might be expected to feel closer to the woman from whom he rents a room, but she is a tall, blonde monster of bourgeois pretension. Umberto's lone friend is Maria, servant of the boarding house. Police disperse an organized street demonstration of elderly men demanding a raise in their meager pensions. Umberto D. (pronounced [umˈbɛrto di]) is a 1952 Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica. His situation, at first glance, seems faintly ridiculous. It was, however, quite popular overseas and the film he remained most proud of (even dedicating the film to his father). [2], In an interview where he discussed Diary of a Country Priest, Psycho and Citizen Kane, Ingmar Bergman is quoted as saying, "Umberto D. is... a movie I have seen a hundred times, that I may love most of all. The failure of Umberto D at the box office suggested that Italians had seen enough of their problems depicted on screen. His parting advice to the maid is to get rid of the boyfriend from Florence. Unit Director and And so, in Italy’s highly politicized film culture, Umberto D. opened without organized support, to compete against the recently revived Cinecittà’s superproductions and such government-subsidized fare as Don Camillo (1952), a nougat-centered clerical farce. Prof. Umberto D'Alessandro (MD, MSc, PhD) has a long working experience in Africa, first as a clinician (Benin and Kenya) and later as a clinical epidemiologist (The Gambia). Considered one of the high points of Italian neo-realist cinema, Umberto D. provides the ultimate example of the movement's unadorned, observational style, which emphasizes the reality of events without calling attention to their emotional or dramatic impact. People who admire the work of such contemporary filmmakers as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Chantal Akerman, and Abbas Kiarostami can see something up-to-date in this aspect of Umberto D., and even recognize in it a principal source of today’s cinema of the steady gaze. He sells a watch and some books, but only raises a third of the amount. As Umberto ducks underneath the barrier, we see many people moving in the opposite direction as Umberto, which is a common theme throughout the movie. With the dismal release of Umberto D., Italy’s neorealist period came to an end. It was shot on location with a cast of non-professional actors -- which tense to increase to the authentic atmosphere that adds to the central themes of the film. The film was directed by Francis Huster, co-written by Huster and Murielle Magellan, and stars Jean-Paul Belmondo in his first role in seven years, alongside Hafsia Herzi, Julika Jenkins and Francis Huster among others. Year: 1952. For the perfect introduction to Italian Neorealism; To see how bad poverty was in post-war Italy; It’s emotional – it’ll get you angry, sentimental, hopeless, and hopeful; It’s actually De Sica’s favourite film (above Bicycle Thieves) The Breakdown. Sprawling across more than half a century of American history, Martin Scorsese’s crime saga combines epic ambition with a mood of isolation and dissolution. Serving as an apt demonstration of the effect that a historical context has on a production, like Shoeshine and Bicycle Thieves before it, Umberto D embraces these contextual elements and uses them to enhance and emphasise its subtextual themes. Umberto attempts to find a place for Flike, first with a couple who board dogs, then a little girl he knows, but the latter's nanny makes her give the dog back. ... a band of kids comes sprinting from around the corner and once again headed in the opposite direction of Umberto. Umberto Ferrari, aged government-pensioner, attends a street demonstration held by his fellow pensioners. She is three months pregnant, but is unsure which of two soldiers is the father, the tall one from Naples or the short one from Florence. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.com. Umberto D. is perhaps the most astringent film ever made about a poor old man and his dog. Worse, upon its release in early 1952, the film came under attack from Giulio Andreotti in Libertà, the weekly organ of the Christian Democratic Party. Simple, honest and devastating, De Sica’s Umberto D is one of the most moving and unsentimental portrayals of attachment, dignity and suffering ever made. These same critics generally dislike the pooch. That the filmmakers also make him go everywhere with little Flike—clutching him to his breast, fretting over his well-being, ultimately begging the dog to come play with him—seems to these viewers an almost invasive ploy, as if Zavattini and De Sica were trying to force into their hands an already soggy handkerchief. Nor does Umberto D. concern itself with the neorealist theme of economic hardship as such, despite Zavattini’s quickness in telling us, right in the first scene, how many lire Umberto gets for his monthly pension, how much he pays out in rent, and how much he owes. Umberto D. is a 1952 Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica. Umberto runs after him. In the ending sequence, after having failed to … With Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari, Ileana Simova. This official condemnation, however damaging, would not have been enough in itself to doom Umberto D. with the public. When he returns to the apartment, he finds workmen renovating the entire place. The movie was included in TIME magazine's "All-TIME 100 Movies" in 2005. Akcja toczy się w Rzymie, w latach 50. Umberto rushes to the city pound, and is relieved to find his dog. Check out Umberto D by Various artists on Amazon Music. Meanwhile, the sympathetic maid confides in Umberto that she has her own problems. But the main opposition was the Communist Party, which had conducted its own attack against Zavattini and De Sica for what it too saw as pessimism. According to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, this was De Sica's favorite of all his films. Feeling ill, Umberto gets himself admitted to a hospital; it turns out to be tonsillitis, and he is discharged after a few days. Umberto D. Is about an old government-pensioner and his loyal dog Flike. Unable to bring himself to beg from strangers on the street, Umberto contemplates suicide, but knows he must first see that Flike is taken care of. Since the Christian Democrats had full, seemingly permanent control of the government, and since Andreotti (later to serve seven times as prime minister) controlled the state’s movie production loans, and exercised the right of precensorship over scripts, the brand of film criticism he practiced was unusually powerful. Why Watch Umberto D? The+Umberto+D.+DVD+Menu One of them is Umberto Domenico Ferrari, a retired civil servant, who says he's 15,000 lire in debt (which is a … It may be the best of the Italian neorealist films--the one that is most simply itself, and does not reach for its effects or strain to make its message clear."[4]. The film was hailed by critics as a shining example of the maturity and emotional power of realism. Played by Lina Gennari with all the mannerisms that a veteran actor can muster and Battisti cannot, she comes across rather like an unfunny Margaret Dumont. In the final scene of Umberto D., Vittorio De Sica portrays a concrete sense of the despair and depression that many Italian people faced during a time of hostilities between nations. According to Andreotti, De Sica was guilty of “slandering Italy abroad” by “washing dirty linen in public.” Writing in the voice of his party, his government, or the Italian nation—it wasn’t clear which—Andreotti said: “We ask De Sica not to forget the minimal commitment toward a healthy and constructive optimism that can help humanity to move forward and to gain some hope. By the end of the film, she will literally decorate Umberto out of her house, there being no space for him in her version of the high life. It features an old man and his dog as they struggle to survive in the tough reality of the Italian postwar city. Surely an audience needs no further prompting to feel the isolation of Umberto Domenico Ferrari. In today’s climate of economic despair and ever-rising social inequality, the themes … XX wieku. Umberto D. (1952) - Starszy pan i jego pies próbują przeżyć z rządowej emerytury w Rzymie lat pięćdziesiątych. The governing elite are not seen, but the effects of their actions are all too apparent in de Sica’s depiction of Rome. The burden of decorum, the futility of culture: the film touches on these themes lightly, almost comically, in its opening sequence, but soon begins to insist upon them by positioning Umberto between two characters of contrasting status—apparently the last two people in the world with whom he is still in contact. Which brings us back to Flike. The film’s goal to capture a rather harsh and unromantic look at life is considered the Italian neorealism. I believe their greatest work, which surely includes Umberto D., kept touch faithfully with popular sentiment, even while helping to create the decidedly unpopular tradition of the art-house film. Umberto D tells about Italy in the hard and heavy moment of the post-war re-building, and in a way show a pain and a drama (I would say "tragedy) that the establishment did not want people to know then. This poignant story about a poor retiree facing eviction dutifully follows the neorealist template, with its plotless narrative, location shooting, and nonprofessional actors. Umberto D. is possibly Vittorio De Sica's masterpiece, an emotional knockout that thrills the soul with its gorgeous black and white cinematography and sublime performances. Umberto is slowly being stripped of his dignity, and even of the desire for dignity. Get info about new releases, essays and interviews on the Current, Top 10 lists, and sales. In Umberto D (Sica, Dear Film, 1952), the scene where Maria wakes up in the early morning to do chores utilizes strategic lighting, camera position, non-diegetic sound, and mise-en-scene to illustrate the grim and bleak life of many in post-WWII Italy. Perhaps today’s division between auteurist productions and mass-market movies might be eased, and contemporary cinema enlivened, if our filmmakers would more often put themselves at risk as Zavattini and De Sica did with Umberto D. Of course, this prescription is open to question, considering that Umberto D. was released to utter disaster. Some viewers may even let out an ironic laugh when the police drive in to break up the protest and the camera, shooting through the windshield of one of the cops’ jeeps, records the pursuit of the demonstrators: a gang of old men, who huff away in hats and flapping overcoats. The camera glimpses Umberto two or three times during this ruckus, but it does not single him out until the protesters have dispersed, to pronounce curses against their own organizers and recover their breath. Most of the actors were non-professional, including Carlo Battisti who plays the title role of Umberto Domenico Ferrari, a poor elderly man in Rome who is desperately trying to keep his rented room. With its thought-provoking structure, interweaving story lines, and saturated colors, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature represented a quantum leap in the audiovisual grammar of Mexican cinema. There’s even room for a city bus, which noses forward in the opposite direction of the march, as if to assert the rights of normal routine. Although Alessandro Cicognini’s music comes on with the throb of verismo opera, the initial view prompts curiosity more than tears. So Umberto D. introduces its protagonist as one figure among many. Many people refer to Umberto D as the final film of Neorealism. He has been involved in malaria research since 1990 when he carried out the evaluation of the Gambian National programme on insecticide-treated bed nets. 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