Detroit Film Theatre


DFT 101: UMBERTO D.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

4:00 PM Detroit Film Theatre

(Italy/1955—directed by Vittorio De Sica)

 

An aged, former civil servant, now trying to scrape by on an inadequate pension, does what he can to maintain a modicum of dignity. Played memorably by a non-professional actor and retired professor named Carlo Battisti, Umberto remains a gentleman throughout every moment of his horrifying, all-too-familiar plight, never understanding why the rest of the world doesn’t respond with tenderness and compassion. The simplicity and unaffected brilliance of Umberto D. should never be mistaken for casualness; De Sica makes us feel we’re witnessing a documentary, yet every detail, plot twist and image is orchestrated so brilliantly as to pierce us to our souls. Despite the universal acclaim for his other acknowledged masterwork, The Bicycle Thief, it was Umberto D. that remained De Sica’s personal favorite of his own films, right up until his death. Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. In Italian with English subtitles. (89 min.)

 

"Simple and direct... infused with so much awareness that the screen seems luminous." Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

 

Saturday, November 19 at 4:00 p.m.