17 January 2021 | clanciai
One of de Sica's major comedies and perhaps the best of them all
Vittorio de Sica knew his home town Naples by heart, as he, like his favourite actress Sofia Loren, practically had grown up there from the gutter. In these six episodes are reflected different insights and aspects of Napolitan life, reflecting both comedy, tragedy, drama and, as always in de Sica's films, deep humanity. One of the episodes is dedicated entirely to a funeral procession of a dead child. The most dramatic episode is the fifth with Silvana Mangano getting married to an unknown man, naturally she is shy and feels rather uncertain about the venture, and gradually the whole scheme of the situation unfolds, and she naturally reacts. Her performance is the most memorable in this film. Sophia Loren is still very young here and brilliant as a pizza hostess selling in the streets with her husband and extricating herself magnificently out of a scandal. Vittorio de Sica plays the lead himself in one of the episodes, actually making a satire out of himself, as he was a great gambler himself and needed some detachment and to handle the situation, which this sequence illustrates perfectly. The brilliant comedian Totó introduces the episodes in a very domestic situation of outrageous difficulties and awkwardness, and he manages it in a very Italian way. In brief, these six chapters of daily life in Naples in 1954 will go through to eternity with the rest of de Sica's films as timeless and ageless expressions of deep sympathy and keen warm-hearted observation.