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Umberto D [DVD]
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A heartfelt portrait of an impoverished retired civil servant who lives in a rented room in postwar Rome with only his beloved dog and a teenage housemaid as companions. Faced with eviction when he can't keep up with his rent, the old man struggles to make ends meet and maintain his dignity, but his growing despair leads him to contemplate suicide.
Written by De Sica's long-standing collaborator Cesare Zavattini (who is the subject of an in-depth documentary extra on this DVD), UMBERTO D's depiction of poverty, old age and¬ loneliness - far from being a recipe for bleakness -¬ is bursting with life.
Despite international acclaim with ¬Cannes and Oscar nominations, it was castigated by the Italian government for airing the country's 'dirty laundry' in public. Today UMBERTO D is universally considered not only as the apex of Italian Neorealism but as one of cinema's masterpieces with a profound influence on generations of filmmakers.
The DVD also features an hour-plus documentary featuring Cannes and Oscar ® winners Roberto Benigni (LA VITA E BELLA), Bernardo Bertolucci (LAST EMPEROR) and Carlo Lizzani, who directs this investigation of the mysteries of Neorealism and its founders; as seen through the provocative personality of Zavattini not just in his partnership with De Sica but also in his many other masterpieces, which shaped Italian and World Cinema forever.
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Top Customer Reviews
In such times Umberto D. had only one objective: survive. He and he's only friend a dog named Flike.
Along with "Bycicle Thieves" (from the same director Vittorio De Sica) and Roberto Rosselini's "Rome: Open City" this drama is one of the three kings of Italian Neorealism. Highly recommended.
Umberto D tells about Italy in the hard and heavy moment of the post-war re-building, and in a way show a pain and a drama (I would say "tragedy) that the establishment did not want people to know then. They were all focused on telling another story, that of upcoming social and national improvement, while De Sica decided to adopt the neo-realistic approach and add an emotional and touching drama (that make this film a perfect mix of neo-realism and more personal, almost literary touch) to convey a bleak, sad vision of the current world.
But this film is much more "universal", because it talks about solitude, unjustice and the sadness of getting old.
And by telling that, De Sica shows his heart (the D in the title refers to his last name: this film is also a tribute to his beloved father), and creates a masterpiece that is not inferior to the great Bycicle Thieves, and also compete with Ozu's Tokyo Story and few other films for the best dramatic films ever made. Umberto D is like life: with no mercy but still a celebration of human being, who can reach out to what really counts when everything seem lost (one's own dignity or dog), and reminds us that the soul and the sensibility is the only thing that makes us noble. And De Sica, like his character, has proved it through this wonderful film.
Italy was devastated by the failure of fascism and was just beginning to recover from the war when this film was made, and nobody wanted any downers. Vittorio De Sica's film is perhaps not so much of a downer as the early critics thought. The ending is ambiguous and while not hopeful for Umberto is somewhat inspiring in the youthfulness of his dog and in the sweet humanity of the maid Maria who shoulders her situation with alacrity while showing affection and kindness toward a bitter old man.
I was not moved to tears as some have been in watching this. Umberto's troubles seem to me (from my privileged vantage point in time and place) somewhat of his own doing. I imagined that he supported the fascists, and I saw his poverty in his old age as a direct result of that support. Barring that, I imagined that he had planned poorly for his old age, and at any rate his values, represented by his always wearing a suit and tie and hat and his inability to beg or to take some kind of job, disqualified him for tears. Of course I was unfair.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Shockingly dull. Never gets out of first gear, is slow and contrived. I played the second half at 2x speed whilst reading the subtitles. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Mr DJS
Powerful and sentimental drama, a masterpiece of Neorealism this is a classic that should be on everybody’s watch list! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lovely tale of a gentle man whos misfotune it is to be elderly and to whom very few seem to show respect. Could almost be a clip from a period of one's own life at a late stage. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jacob J Thomson
Sat through it but was left disappointed. Was expecting much more and it just didnt deliver. Would not reccomend as it didnt evoke any real depth of emotion for me. Read morePublished on 27 Dec. 2013 by sarah newton
SORRY but I didn't likr thios. It was far too sentimental. I am sorry for anyone who is down on there luck, but I couldn't understand why this old man didn't make a plan and try... Read morePublished on 24 Nov. 2010 by Maxwell R. Allen
Bought for my partner who is learning Italian, and is a fan of world cinema.otherwise dont know anything about it.Published on 13 May 2009 by Janeyb