I’ve recently been made aware of the wonderful Italian director Vittorio De Sica (1901-74) and I am currently in the process of watching as many of his films as I can get my hands on.
I started out with Ladri di Biciclette (1948), which I truly enjoyed and recommend to everyone, but De Sica had me spellbound with the brilliant and moving Umberto D (1952).
The story revolves around elderly pensioner Umberto Domenico Ferrari (wonderfully portrayed by Carlo Battisti) a poor, lonely man who rents a room from a less than charming landlady. His friends consist mainly of servant girl Maria and his dog, Flike. His financial situation is difficult and he is too proud to beg and unable to get a loan from former colleagues. After a stay in the hospital, he comes home to find his beloved dog gone and his room occupied. He goes on a search for Flike while simultaniously trying to figure out his options in life.
The film is beautifully shot and brilliantly directed and acted. The story and characters are very moving: I dare anyone not to fall in love with Umberto and Flike. I strongly recommend this film – although do not expect a light-hearted comedy! This film will toy with your emotions in an unignorable way. Still, it is worth it. As are the rest of De Sica’s films, at least the ones I’ve seen so far. Hope you enjoy it, even if it’s quite different from what we normally recommend to you. Just trust me on this.