Bitter Rice (Riso Amaro)

BitterRiceBBBB

(out of 5)

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. Vittorio Gassman 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 (Doris Dowling) 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 (Silvana Mangano), 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 Raf Vallone makes his mark as a nearby soldier who has nothing but lovin’ on his mind every time he looks at her.

Italy, 1949

Directed by Giuseppe de Santis

Story by Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani, Gianni Puccini, Screenplay by Corrado Alvaro, Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani, Carlo Musso, Ivo Perilli, Gianni Puccini

Cinematography by Otello Martelli

Film Festivals: Cannes 1949

The Criterion Collection

Academy Award Nomination
Best Writing (Motion Picture Story) (Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s