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Children Are Watching Us
     

The Children Are Watching Us

Director: Vittorio De Sica

Cast: Emilio Cigoli, Isa Pola, Ernesto Calindri

 
A very early Vittorio De Sica effort, The Children Are Watching Us was originally released in Italy as I Bambini Ci Guardano. Director De Sica collaborated with another neorealist pioneer, Cesare Zavattini, on the screenplay. The film, a real tearjerker, concerns a young mother (Isa Pola) who can't stand the pressures exerted on her by family

Overview

A very early Vittorio De Sica effort, The Children Are Watching Us was originally released in Italy as I Bambini Ci Guardano. Director De Sica collaborated with another neorealist pioneer, Cesare Zavattini, on the screenplay. The film, a real tearjerker, concerns a young mother (Isa Pola) who can't stand the pressures exerted on her by family responsibilities. She deserts her husband (Emilio Cigoli) and her brood, permanently ruining the life of her four-year-old son, Prico (Luciano de Ambrosis). Avoiding the rococo gestures and dramatic overstatement that might have attended this film had it been made in Hollywood, De Sica fashions a subtle tale about real people caught up in a real situation. De Sica's sensitivity toward the younger cast members of The Children Are Watching Us would manifest itself in many of his formative films, notably Sciuscià and The Bicycle Thief. Made in 1942, the film was not released in Italy until 1944.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Yes, I Bambini Ci Guardano will break your heart, but to assess it as a tearjerker would be an incredible injustice and understatement. With this gentle, frail, incandescently beautiful work, Vittorio De Sica adds little Prico's broken face to a compendium of cinematic images that haunt us with their verisimilitude. That De Sica managed to coax the terror of actual experience from a rehearsed actor is astonishing; that it came from a six-year-old child is unimaginable. The picture's dramatic essence (which is almost intangible in its purity and refinement) overwhelms us, and makes an indelible impression. But Children shines most vividly, over 60 years later, as a social document. All expectant couples should be forced to watch this work as a prerequisite of parenthood -- more than any other film or piece of literature in memory, it drives home the idea of maternal and paternal accountability, and the crushing burden that it entails. In no other commercial feature has a director so hauntingly conveyed the degree of psychological influence that a parent exerts over a small child, or the irreversible destruction wielded when a parent's selfish irresponsibility rears its head. I Bambini Ci Guardano may not be an "easy" viewing experience, but it ranks among the most invaluable cinematic works in history. Its ambitions are so rare, its message so crucial, and its execution so flawless on every level that it can only be called a masterpiece.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/28/2006
UPC:
0037429208021
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:24:00

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; New video interviews with star Luciano De Ambrosis and Vittorio De Sica scholar Callisto Cosulich; New and improved English subtitle translation; Plus: a 24-page booklet featuring film scholar Peter Brunette, and critic Stuart Klawans on screenwriter Cesare Zavattini

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Emilio Cigoli Andrew, Prico's father
Isa Pola Nina, Prico's mother
Ernesto Calindri Claudio
Luciano de Ambrosis Prico
Dina Perbellini Zia Berelli
Adriano Rimoldi Roberto, Nina's lover
Tecla Scarano Signora Resta

Technical Credits
Vittorio De Sica Director,Screenwriter
Mario Bonotti Editor
Giuseppe Caracciolo Cinematographer
Adolfo Franci Screenwriter
Gherardo Gherhardt Screenwriter
Margherita Magilone Screenwriter
Renzo Rossellini Score Composer
Cesare Giulio Viola Screenwriter
Cesare Zavattini Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Children Are Watching Us
1. Opening Credits/Rendevous [7:08]
2. Mama Leaves Home [7:27]
3. What About Pricó? [6:43]
4. "I Want to Live In Peace" [5:27]
5. Together...Alone [4:06]
6. Bitter Homecoming [3:42]
7. A Lover Spurned [3:32]
8. Mama'a Birthday [1:46]
9. Confrontation [4:51]
10. On Holiday [2:50]
11. "An Important Message" [3:06]
12. Daddy Returns to Rome [8:02]
13. Reunited [2:54]
14. Pricò's Journey Home [6:37]
15. The Truth [9:06]
16. A New Family [2:58]
17. Broken Hearts [4:14]
18. Color Bars [:00]

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