Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
Italy, 1952. Rizzoli Film, Produzione Films Vittorio De Sica, Amato Film. Screenplay by Cesare Zavattini. Cinematography by G.R. Aldo. Produced by Giuseppe Amato, Vittorio De Sica, Angelo Rizzoli. Music by Alessandro Cicognini. Production Design by Virgilio Marchi. Film Editing by Eraldo Da Roma. Academy Awards 1956. Cannes Film Festival 1952. New York Film Critics Awards 1955.
A masterpiece! A lovable old man rents a room in a boarding house that is starting to rent by the hour, his mean landlady trying to kick him out, even raising the rent to make him unable to continue living there. The old man refuses, putting up a tough fight in order to keep the little he owns in his old age to himself, even if it means living in what is turning into a brothel; it doesn’t help that the government is giving so little pension to retired civil servants such as himself. During the course of the film he develops a friendship with the meek serving girl of the house, rare moments of sanity in the crazy world he has to constantly fight against. The drama is perfectly subtle and natural without ever obviously pulling on heartstrings, something pretty amazing for a film that features the antics between an old man and his pet dog.