Two Women (1960)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  

Original title:  La Ciociara

Italy/France, 1960.  Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Cocinor, Les Films Marceau, Société Générale de Cinématographie.  Adaptation and Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1961.  Cannes Film Festival 1961.  Golden Globe Awards 1961.  New York Film Critics Awards 1961.  

 gives an excellent performance in this Vittorio de Sica melodrama, the only foreign-language film performance to win an acting Oscar until Robert De Niro in 1974 for The Godfather Part II. She plays a single mother who decides to flee the bombs that are tearing Rome apart and take her daughter to safety in her home village. The journey there leads to danger and a breakdown on the mother’s part when both she and her daughter are raped by Allied soldiers hiding in a church that they pass. Eventually, Loren finds herself attracting a proper gentleman (), but it’s not entirely certain that her sense of self-protection will allow her to accept his benign advances. The film is mostly memorable for its performances and for the shocking quality of its story, not among De Sica’s best work but a testament to Loren’s talent.

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