Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5
Original title: Il Giardino Dei Finzi Contini
Italy/West Germany, 1970. Documento Film, CCC-Filmkunst. Screenplay by Vittorio Bonicelli, Ugo Pirro, based on the novel by Giorgio Bassani. Cinematography by Ennio Guarnieri. Produced by Artur Braunier, Arthur Cohn, Gianni Hecht Lucari. Music by Manuel De Sica, Bill Conti. Production Design by Giancarlo Bartolini Salimbeni. Costume Design by Giancarlo Bartolini Salimbeni. Film Editing by Adriana Novelli.
The utter confusion of the Holocaust is captured in this beautifully photographed film by Vittorio De Sica. The Finzi-Continis are a prominent, wealthy Italian family who find it incredible that their secure life and estate could possibly be threatened by the Nazis simply because of their Jewish faith. When the Germans enter Italy, however, they discover that all their money and social standing are of absolutely no use to them. Concentrating more on the events leading up to their arrests, this film does a good job of showing a family of people trying to beat the atmosphere of gloom that invades their happiness by simply living their lives as they always have without giving in to panic, thus making the tragedy even more real in the end. Dominique Sanda and Helmut Berger are both excellent as the son and daughter of the family, whose experiences are the more personal ones that are revealed in this gently told story.
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Nomination: Best Adapted Screenplay
Berlin Film Festival Award: Golden Bear