We Were Movie Gangsters

Umberto D. (1952)

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It’s been awhile since any of us kool kats posted here at Moviefellas. I’ve been trying to get in as much movie-watching as possible in between rewatching the entirety of AMC’s Breaking Bad (expect a post about that coming soon…) and getting ready to go off to college for the first time ever, and recently I enjoyed watching Umberto D. for the first time during a Skype movie date with my fellow Moviefella Miranda.

Umberto D. is, in a word, heartbreaking. Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist film offers a stark view into the reality of Umberto D. Ferrari, an aged former government worker in postwar Italy who loves his dog Flike and is having a hard time making ends meet. Nothing seems to go his way–his coarse, unsympathetic landlady threatens to evict him and his dog if he does not come up with a large sum that he is incapable of raising. As if things weren’t looking bleak enough, Umberto falls ill with tonsillitis.

Umberto’s life is marked by loneliness. Perhaps his only human friend is the pregnant maid who works in his building. Umberto’s one constant, loving companion, though, is his adorable little dog Flike, a source of light in his otherwise depressing life. Flike was probably my favorite part of this overall wonderful film. Watching it, I found myself growing extremely anxious about what would become of these two friends.

The performance by Carlo Battisti, a nonprofessional actor, felt incredibly real. Umberto is a resilient, heartbreaking figure whose desperation and poverty make for a grim but sincere and heartfelt film from De Sica. De Sica’s exploration of working class struggles (and just human struggles in general, such as old age and loneliness) make for a beautiful, tear-inducing, and noteworthy neorealist film that I definitely would recommend. In a relatively short running time (1 hour and 29 mins), De Sica packs an emotional punch and powerful message, creating a film that is sure to stick with you.


One thought on “Umberto D. (1952)

  1. One of my fave Italian Neo-realist films :D

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