Friday, April 23, 2010

Revival: UMBERTO D.

This week's revival at the Charles Theatre.


Saturday, April 24 at Noon
Monday, April 26 at 7 PM
Thursday, April 29 at 9 PM.

1952 Italy. Dir. Vittorio De Sica. Carlo Battisti, Maria-Pia Casilio. In Italian with English subtitles. bw. 89 m.

Shot on location with a cast of nonprofessional actors, Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece follows Umberto D., an elderly pensioner, as he struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic boom. Alone except for his dog, Flike, Umberto strives to maintain his dignity while trying to survive in a city where traditional human kindness seems to have lost out to the forces of modernization. Umberto’s simple quest to fulfill the most fundamental human needs—food, shelter, companionship—is one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed and an essential classic of world cinema. -Criterion Collection

"De Sica's Greatest Achievement!"
-Martin Scorsese

"An unflinching of the greatest works of Italian neorealism."
-- Mike D'Angelo, Time Out New York

"When this film came out, we felt that there was nothing the cinema could not do."
-- David Shipman

"Truly extraordinary...Nothing of De Sica's [previous work] has had [its] pure simplicity and almost unbearable candor and compassion."
-- Bosley Crowther NY Times 1955

"UMBERTO D. was overdue for revival. And now, expertly restored... exemplifying a movement that has had an immeasurable impact on the last 50 years of filmmaking around the world....
The [print's] visual and sound tracks are superb."
-- Peter Brunette, The New York Times

"As powerful as The Bicycle Thief was, for me, De Sica and Zavattini's greatest achievement together was Umberto D...a great movie about a hero of everyday life. That was De Sica's precious gift to his father. And to us."
-- Martin Scorsese

"Screenwriter Cesare Zavattini likely deserves as much credit as director Vittorio De Sica for such masterpieces of Italian neorealism as The Bicycle Thief (1947) and this 1952 feature about a retired civil servant (schoolteacher Carlo Battisti) who discovers that his meager pension won't pay the rent for his room. He's befriended by a maid in the same flat who's pregnant but unsure of the father's identity; apart from her the only creature he feels close to is his dog, and though he contemplates suicide, he has to find someone to care for it. This simple, almost Chaplinesque story of a man fighting to preserve his dignity is even more moving for its firm grasp of everyday activities."
--Jonathan Rosenbaum

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