Clearing up the differences between yams and sweet potatoes is not as easy as one thinks.
November 17, 2011
He was always raising money for his "little" films.
And then going broke making them:
“I've lost all my money on these films. They are not commercial. But I'm glad to lose it this way. To have for a souvenir of my life pictures like Umberto D. and The Bicycle Thief.”
Nice "souvenirs" for the rest of us too.
Vittorio De Sica didn't invent Italian neorealism; he made it art:
“It is not reality. It is reality filtered through poetry, reality transfigured...When we lost the war we discovered our ruined morality...the first film that placed a very tiny stone in the reconstruction of our former dignity was Shoeshine.”
A subtle distinction, lost in English, but becomes clear to us.
Speaking of finances, De Sica pitched the project to producer David O. Selznick who agreed to underwrite the film if Cary Grant would play the lead.
Fortunately for posterity, the offer was declined.
Set in postwar Rome, using mainly non-professionals, screenwriter Cesare Zavattini based the screenplay on a novel by Luigi Bartolini.
A simple plot, really.
The country was in ruins, finding a good job was difficult and required a bicycle.
Antonio, played by Lamberto Maggiorani, spends the movie searching for it.
To replace it, he observes a lone bicycle outside a doorway, makes his move, but the owner and angry mob has other ideas.
His young son and plight touches the bicycle's owner and he allows the father to give it back; his son, understanding his father's humiliation, grabs his hand and they walk off hand and hand.
Playwright Arthur Miller said it is as if "the soul of a man had been filmed."
Everyday life becomes poetry.