Jan 20, 2016

A film by Vittorio De Sica
1956 / Italy/ Runtime: 95 minutes
24th Jan 2016/ Perks Mini Theater

THE ROOF, largely considered the last masterpiece of Italian Neorealist cinema, dramatizes a single night in the lives of Luisa and Natale, a strikingly good-looking but destitute pair of newlyweds. The couple share a small two-room apartment with several relatives. 

Following a bitter family dispute, Luisa and Natale pack out of this untenable living situation. Luisa turns to a friend for housing, while Natale finds shelter in a tool shed. Realizing that separation is no solution, the couple struggles to build a small shack for themselves.

With very little money or possessions, the young couple struggle to find appropriate accommodation anywhere in the city. All around Rome, squatters are building meager shacks on unclaimed land. This illegal practice is heavy patrolled by officials and if discovered during construction, the authorities order the immediate demolition of the structure. 

Natale works as an apprentice bricklayer and is aware of the Italian law, which stipulates that once a roof is completed on a dwelling, the authorities cannot pull it down.

In an era of economic hardship, how does a newly married young couple gain independence and break the necessity of living with relatives in an over-populated household? Winner of the OCIC Award at Cannes in 1956, The Roof is a memorable, heartwarming tale of love and community amid tough economic times. (Source:Internet)

Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio 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 career took off in the 1920s whenhe 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 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."    Some more great films followed. Vittorio De Sica died in 1974 at the age of 72.


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