Bitter Rice (1949)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Riso Amaro

Italy, 1949.  .  Story by Giuseppe De Santis, , , Screenplay by , Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani, , , Gianni Puccini.   Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Classic film from the canon of Italian neo-realist dramas made in the forties and fifties, about labourers working on a rice field for the summer season.   plays a jewel thief who is on the run from the police after having stolen a jewelled necklace from a resort hotel. He gives the piece to his girlfriend () and tells her to get on a train with the migrating rice pickers to hide out for a while, leaving her to work there until later when he shows up with more schemes on his mind.

He also attracts the attention of the local sexpot (), who becomes immediately smitten with him and sees the opportunity to leave behind the life of farm labour and become a real lady. Although it features plot elements more at home in silly melodrama than anything by the likes of De Sica or Visconti (jewel thieves, sexy dance numbers, murder, suicide, catfights, etc.), it’s still grounded in a socially relevant theme and filmed with exquisitely gritty style.

Mangano is divinely sex, and makes his mark as a nearby soldier who has nothing but lovin’ on his mind every time he looks at her.

The Criterion Collection:  #792

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Motion Picture Story

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s