Aug 24, 2010

29th August 2010; De Sica's The Children Are Watching Us

The Children Are
Watching Us

A film by Vittorio De Sica
Country : Italy
Italian with English subtitles
Run time: 84 minutes
29th August 2010; 5.45pm
Perks Mini Theater, Perks School
Off Trichy Road

The child knows. Although just a diminutive four-year-old, utterly naive about the world around him, he senses--he knows--that something is not right with his parents.
Vittorio De Sica’s The Children Are Watching Us (I bambini ci guardano), a precursor to Italian neorealism that relates the heart-breaking account of a family’s dissolution and the destructive effect it has on the child perpetually caught in the middle.
Telling the story almost entirely from the point of view of the child (note how low the camera always is), De Sica exposes how the failings, hypocrisies, and selfishness of parents can render them not only useless in protecting and guiding their children, but actively hurtful.The child in question is Pricò, who is played with absolute conviction and tenderness by Luciano De Ambrosis.

There's always a sense of harsh movement in the film, lines of action isolating objects and characters into different stratums of the frame. A geometric, spider-like pattern emerges throughout, with little Pico caught in the center, gasping for breath like an ensnared animal, threatened from either side by all sorts of twin pressures.

No one feels this pressure more than Pico. In the film's single greatest scene, father and son lock eyes like hunter and prey, one asking the other for the information he already knows, the other resisting because he knows submission will completely devastate the family.
There is an elevator in the film that only goes up, a symbol of Andrea's lack of foresight. Similarly, De Sica's camera often travels forcefully in one direction away from his characters. During a wonderfully hypnotic beach scene, an effete gentleman with a little dog tries to seduce Nina with his eyes and the movement of the camera suggests the woman is being torn apart like a piece of taffy—on one side by her pleasure-seekingness, on the other by her dedication to her son, whom she holds in her hands trying to teach how to swim.
It is in the final scene that The Children Are Watching Us builds to its powerfully emotional climax. It is a heart-rending moment in which you feel a human connection being literally ripped away, making the film one of a handful that treats the difficulties of childhood with such a deft, tender hand as to avoid all sense of cloying sentimentality.

The Children Are Watching Us is a marvel of complex visual and emotional scope -this is the first neorealist gesture, a sign that the Italian film was about to grow up.


Vittoria De Sica, was one of the great directors of the postwar Italian neorealist movement, which represented a large, loud break with Hollywood tradition and dealt with life as it might exist outside sound stages.

As one of the world's most influential filmmakers, and as an actor who starred in some 150 movies, Vittorio De Sica built a remarkable film career that spanned half a century.
De Sica directed 34 feature films, for which he won numerous international prizes. He was honored with four Academy Awards: two Special Awards, preceding the creation of the Best Foreign Film category, for "Shoeshine" in 1947, and "The Bicycle Thief" in 1949, and Best Foreign Film Awards for "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" in 1964, and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis in 1971.

De Sica was born in 1902 in Sora, near Rome, and grew up in Naples in a middle-class family. His father, Umberto De Sica, a bank clerk with a penchant for show business, encouraged his good-looking son to pursue a stage career. At 16, he appeared in the film "The Clemenceau Affair." His career took off in the 1920s when he joined a local theater company and became a matinee idol. He later formed his own company, producing plays and co-starring with his first wife, Giuditta Rissone. At the same time, he made a name for himself as a suave leading man in Italian films, and became immensely popular with female audiences.

During World War II, De Sica turned to directing. His first four films were routine light productions in the tradition of the Italian cinema of the day. But his fifth, "The Children Are Watching Us," was a mature, perceptive, and deeply human work about the impact of adult folly on a child's innocent mind. The film marked the beginning of De Sica's collaboration with author and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, a creative relationship that was to give the world two of the most significant films of the Italian neorealism movement, "Shoeshine" and "The Bicycle Thief."

To finance his directorial efforts, De Sica worked as an actor throughout his career. He turned almost exclusively to acting in the late 1950s, enjoying great popularity in the role of the rural police officer in Comencini's "Bread Love and Dreams" (1954), and in a subsequent comedy series of the same name co-starring Gina Lollobrigida.

He made a dramatic comeback with The Garden of the Finzi-Continis , produced by Arthur Cohn. The director's next movie was "A Brief Vacation" (1973), a moving film, also produced by Arthur Cohn, about a working-class Italian woman's first taste of freedom in a society dominated by males. His last film, "The Voyage" (1974), was based on a novella by Pirandello.Vittorio De Sica died in 1974 at the age of 72.

1 comment:

|கீதப்ப்ரியன்|Geethappriyan| said...

தலைவரே வணக்கம்
இயக்குனர் சார்லஸ் அவர் நீண்டந்நாளாய் ஒரு ரஷ்ய படத்தை தேடுவதாக தன் பதிவில் குறிப்பிட்டிருந்தார்,உங்களுக்கு தெரிந்தால் உதவுங்களேன்.

இது தான் அந்த காட்சி:-
நான் முந்தைய பதிவில் குறிப்பிட்ட, (எனக்குப் பெயர் மறந்துபோன) ரஷ்யப் படத்தையும் தேடிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறேன். அந்தக் காட்சி, சிறந்த தாளக் கட்டுமானமுள்ள படத்தொகுப்புக்கு ஆகச் சிறந்த உதாரணம். முதல் அல்லது இரண்டாம் உலகப் போர் நடக்கும் காலம், ஒரு சிற்றூரின் பெரும்பாலான ஆண்கள் கட்டாயத்தின்பேரில் இராணுவத்தில் சேர்க்கப்பட்டு, போரில் ஈடுபடுத்தப்படுகிறார்கள். பல மாதங்களுக்குப் பின்பு, அவர்களது படைப்பிரிவு நாட்டின் ஒரு மூலையிலிருந்து இன்னொரு மூலைக்குக் கொண்டுசெல்லப்படுகிறது என்றும், அவர்கள் செல்லும் இராணுவ ரயில் அவர்களது சொந்த ஊர் வழியாகத்தான் செல்லும் என்றும், கடிதங்கள் மூலம் சொந்தங்களுக்குத் தெரியவருகிறது. அந்தக் குறிப்பிட்ட காட்சி, ஒரு பெண் முகத்து ஒப்பனையை சரிபார்ப்பதிலிருந்து ஆரம்பிக்கிறது.. அது அந்த சிற்றூரின் ரயில் நிலையம்.. ஏராளமான பெண்களும், முதியவர்களும், குழந்தைகளும் காத்திருக்கிறார்கள்.. அவர்களது கண்களில் ஆர்வமும், எதிர்பார்ப்பும், தவிப்பும் கலந்திருக்கின்றன.. ரயில் வருகிறது.. ஆனால் மிக மிக வேகமாக.. அவர்கள் ஒவ்வொருவரும் தங்கள் கணவர்களை, அப்பாக்களை, பிள்ளைகளை ஒரு முறை பார்த்துவிட அலைபாயும் விழிகளோடு பரிதவிக்க.. அந்த ரயில் முகம் பார்க்க முடியாத மின்னல் வேகத்தில் அந்த ரயில் நிலையத்தைக் கடந்து செல்கிறது.. இறுதியில் மொத்தப்பேரும் ஏமாற்றத்தோடு நிலையத்தில் நின்றுகொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள் என்பதோடு அந்தக் காட்சி முடியும்.


யாருக்காவது இந்தக் காட்சி எந்தப் படத்தில் என்று தெரிந்தால், தயவுசெய்து எனக்குத் தெரியப்படுத்துங்கள். மீண்டும் பார்ப்பதற்கு ஆவலாயிருக்கிறது.

படத்தி பெயர் தெரிந்தால் நீங்களே இதை அங்கே பின்னூடினால் மகிழ்வேன்.