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I Bambini Ci Guardano (The Children Are Watching Us) Eng sub (1944) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
I Bambini Ci Guardano (The Children Are Watching Us) Eng sub (1944) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).idx
I Bambini Ci Guardano (The Children Are Watching Us) Eng sub (1944) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).sub
I Bambini Ci Guardano (The Children Are Watching Us).rtf
I Bambini Ci Guardano (The Children Are Watching Us)
This early Neo-realist drama tells the story of a family torn apart by infidelity from the perspective of the family's only son, Prico (Luciano De Ambrosis). Prico, who is five years old, has always been close with his mother, Nina (Isa Pola). When she begins an affair with a young gigolo (Adriano Rimoldi), Prico desperately tries to save his family. However, he soon realizes that his parents' marriage is doomed. Prico's relationship with his mom starts to crumble as well. Just when it seems that things couldn't get any worse, a terrible tragedy strikes.
Emilio Cigoli ... Andrea - il padre
Luciano De Ambrosis ... Pricò
Isa Pola ... Nina - la madre
Adriano Rimoldi ... Roberto - l'amante di Nina
Giovanna Cigoli ... Agnese - la governante
Jone Frigerio ... La nonna (as Ione Frigerio)
Maria Gardena ... La signora Uberti
Dina Perbellini ... Zia Berelli
Nicoletta Parodi ... Giuliana
Tecla Scarano ... La signora Resta (Mrs. Resta)
Ernesto Calindri ... Claudio
Olinto Cristina ... Il rettore - The Chancellor
Mario Gallina ... Il medico
Zaira La Fratta ... Paolina
Armando Migliari ... Il commendatore
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Codecs: XVid / MP3
Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief is one of cinema’s most biting and astute films about the way children look at society and their families’ place within it. And his equally important (if only slightly successful) Terminal Station follows two philandering lovers who try to decide whether to continue an extramarital fling or succumb to societal pressures and abandon their unseemly romance. So it should come as no small surprise that The Children Are Watching Us, De Sica’s fifth film, follows the same me-against-the-world ethic of his later, prototypical works.
Yet with De Sica, just because he follows a similar thematic thread doesn’t mean that he traverses similar grounds. On paper, The Children Are Watching Us reads like an appendix of sorts to The Bicycle Thief. A young boy’s world is thrown into tumult when his mother leaves his father for another man, only to have her pop in and out of his life with discomforting frequency and intention. So instead of having a child as a helpless spectator of his father’s life, which literally hangs in the balance (as in Bicycle Thief), here we see how the actions of a parent acting on instincts other than maternal can force a young person’s life to buckle under societal and familial pressures.
De Sica’s sure hand paints a shockingly vivid portrait of the mother in a fashion that liberates The Children Are Watching Us from being overly-melodramatic treacle. We don’t necessarily get a view from her vantage point – the film stays firmly in the realm of the child at its story’s center – but instead of simply painting her as a Mommie Dearest demon, her earnest adoration for her child is complicated by her carnal and romantic desires. And hers is a fascinating characterization: damned if she readopts her child, damned if she doesn’t.
And it’s this sobering reality that gives The Children Are Watching Us that delicious De Sica bent. It’s a joke to those who underestimate the power of depressing cinema, “Why would you want to watch a movie about a kid whose mom abandons him?” But more often than not, these classics of depressing cinema provide a channel into the human spirit that other pictures don’t even register. What little Prico does with his eyes when he realizes that his mother will never again tuck him into bed is one of those exceptionally rare appearances of disheveled, disorienting emotion – emotion so raw that a child must recoil at its very existence.
So The Children Are Watching Us valiantly earns its status among De Sica’s other glorious works in truly inventive and wondrous ways. With this simple film, De Sica lays down the groundwork for the kind of abandon-fear syntax that saturates his later works like Umberto D. and The Bicycle Thief. And that alone is worth investigating.
We see true directorial talent budding in the form of Vittorio de Sica in this near-masterpiece. He would go on to direct at least two genuine masterpieces (and others might include other films that I either had a problem with or I haven't yet seen, e.g., Shoeshine), The Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D. The Children are Watching has a couple of flaws, but it ends up being so emotionally powerful that those might escape you.
Like The Bicycle Thieves (and like Shoeshine, from what I hear), The Children are Watching takes the point of view of a young child, Prico. His parents' marriage is falling apart - his mother is in love with (and eventually leaves with) her lover, Roberto. His father is a surprisingly sensitive and loving man who is destroyed by his wife's infidelity. Of course, Prico can hardly understand this. Eventually, after Prico gets deathly ill (a fever hallucination that the boy has seems suspiciously like Dorothy's tornado fantasy in The Wizard of Oz to me - even some of the music seemed similar; hmmm...), his mother returns because she can't stand being away from her son. Although her husband wants her to get out of his life, Prico is too insistent that she stays, so she moves back in. After a few months, Prico has recovered and his father and mother have begun to love each other again.
The main flaw of this film is the fact that, because the point of view so adamantly sticks to Prico, we're never able to learn much about his parents. His father is better developed than his mother. We never get to learn much of the mother's point of view, and in the end, she seems like a simple tramp without any other motive.
Like I said, though, the ending is so powerful that you won't notice this much. However, if the mother's character had been opened a bit more to the audience, that beautiful kick-in-the-teeth final shot would have been doubly as powerful, with the audience experiencing the emotions both from Prico's point of view and his mother's. Vittorio de Sica, at least in these neorealist films, has a marvelous knack for hitting the audience where it hurts with the ending. The Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D had two of the most powerful, poignant, and complex endings ever made. The Children are Watching is equal to those in this way. Just thinking about it now brings me to tears.
The Italian Neorealist movement in films began about the time this movie was made and extended to the mid 1950s. It produced some of the finest films made anywhere (such as UMBERTO D, OPEN CITY and MIRACLE IN MILAN). The films were called "Neorealist" because they did not feature big name actors but ordinary people in ordinary situations. And, because so many of these stories were told with such love and depth, I am a huge fan of the genre.
Of the Neorealist directors, my favorite has been Vittorio De Sica. The films he made during this time period are among his very best and when fame and recognition came his way and the budgets increased, the films generally suffered because they lost that human touch (though there are some notable exceptions such as TWO WOMEN--very Neorealistic in style except that it starred Sophia Loren). These movies all have incredible camera work and artistry and weave a wonderful, but often heart-breaking tale.
Up until I saw this film, I thought UMBERTO D was perhaps De Sica's best film, but now I am convinced that this much less famous film is the finest one he made. THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US is simply magnificent and I can't think of a single way the script could have been improved. Again and again, the director made some very brave choices and risked alienating his audience in order to make a realistic and gut-wrenching film--not another Hollywoodized film with a happy ending.
The film focuses on a short period in the life of a darling little boy ("Pricò"), played marvelously by Luciano De Ambrosis. His was perhaps one of the best performances I have seen by a young child actor, as he was able to cry and react so perfectly. I'm sure a lot of this performance can be attributed to the director.
Pricò's mother is a selfish woman who has been cheating on her husband. Eventually, she runs off and leaves the apparently decent husband to try to raise the boy. His family is not at all supportive nor is his wife's sister and they all behave like it's a huge burden to help raise this sweet kid and the neighbors offer no support--only gossip. There was no daycare back then and the man is beside himself trying to do the right thing. When he has run out of options, his wife surprisingly returns and the man tries very hard to patch things up--taking them on a holiday and spending a lot of money trying to make her happy. Eventually, the father had to return to Rome to work and left them to enjoy their vacation for a few more days. Unfortunately, shortly after he departs, the old boyfriend returns and the mother doesn't try very hard to dissuade him. In fact, after a little while, she completely ignores Pricò. The boy is only about four, but is pretty bright, so he realizes he isn't wanted by Mom so he plans on running away to rejoin Dad. When he wanders off to the train station, he's nearly killed by a speeding train and the cops end up bringing him back to Mom at the hotel.
Instead of learning from this or taking more responsibility, Mom sends the boy home to Dad and runs off with her boyfriend once again. She doesn't even let her husband know to his face--sending a telegram instead informing him she wasn't returning. The man is overwhelmed and reaches out to his son in one of the more touching scenes in the film (since, in general, men are usually very controlled with their kids). However, with no other options, he takes the boy to stay at a boarding school with the church. A short time later, the father kills himself and Mom comes to the school to see Pricò. However, in a gut-wrenching scene, the boy refuses to accept her and walks away as the film concludes.
Okay, I'll admit that my summary sounds pretty grim. Well, that's because this is a grim film. Child abandonment and adultery IS a grim topic and I truly appreciate how the writer, Cesare Zavattini, refuses to back away from the pain or give hope when none is due. It was said that the director himself wanted the film to end on the negative note with the boy rejecting the mother. Hollywood and even Italian convention of the day would have dictated a happier ending (and probably not even included the suicide) but in order to achieve real lasting impact and reality this would have ruined the film.
Apart from the perfect ending, the film is full of so many marvelous moments with great acting. The boy and his family were able to cry or get misty-eyed repeatedly during the film--not a small thing for an actor and especially for a little boy. Also, practically everyone in the audience must have had their hearts break during many of the most difficult moments, or, in the case of the train almost hitting the boy, there's no doubt that the audiences of the day must have cried out in horror at the seemingly imminent death of the boy. While very emotionally charged, though, the film never is schmaltzy or manipulative but seems real throughout. An impressive and perfect film.
PS--Although I often do NOT watch the extras on DVDs, the extras on this Criterion DVD are essential. First, the adult De Ambrosis (Pricò) talks about the filming and it gives great insight into the movie. Second, Callisto Costulich (a film scholar) has a segment that explains the context for the film. This was important because the movie shows no evidence that Italy was at war--even though it came out in 1943 (or 1944--both dates are given on the DVD). This is interesting stuff not to be missed.
# Made in 1942, the film was not released in Italy until 1944
# Marcello Mastroianni was extra in this film
Ladri Di Biciclette (1948): http://www.mininova.org/tor/1108724
Umberto D (1952): http://www.mininova.org/tor/966504