Chicago Sun-Times - 04/28/2002
"...It may be the best of the Italian neorealist films -- the one that is most simply itself..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/06/2002
"...[UMBERTO D.] creates magic of a completely different sort. It makes the unlikeliest subject unforgettable, finding drama, beauty, even poetry in simple things and simple lives..."
Box Office - 11/01/2002
"...UMBERTO D is rightly held as a classic....The new 35 millimeter print has been restored....It's a stunning achievement in service of a deserving film..."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/25/2003
"...Fifty years later, its rigorous sentiment, played with a miraculous naturalness, puts a face and soul on all hapless men and women living out their last years in anonymous despair..."
Sight and Sound - 01/01/2005
"[A] heart-rending tale..."
UMBERTO D., from director Vittorio De Sica, is a simple, heartbreaking tale about the life of an elderly pensioner. Penniless and alone, with only the maid (Lina Genneri) from his rooming house and a devoted dog for companionship, the old man (Carlo Battisti) contemplates suicide. But then one day, a ray of hope pierces his bleak existence, and everything changes. This careful observation of one man's attempt to keep his dignity in the face of a hostile society is one of the pearls of Italian post-war cinema.
The Italian classic UMBERTO D., from director Vittorio De Sica, offers a realistic character sketch of an elderly man, Umberto D. (Carlo Battisti), who is determined to retain his dignity in spite of a meager pension. As with many of De Sica's Neo-realist films, the central struggle is existence--Umberto D.'s pension is simply too small a sum to cover his rent. Joining forces with fellow pensioners, the men stage a protest that is ignored. Umberto attempts and fails to sell his meager belongings when he falls ill. After he returns from hospitalization for the illness, he makes an effort to beg on the street, but is foiled by his own pride. Hitting rock bottom, Umberto decides to kill himself as soon as he can find a new home for his beloved dog, Flag. When he fails to find a home for the dog, Umberto attempts to take the dog with him to the great beyond.
In UMBERTO D., De Sica depicts the bleakness of life with unparalleled subtlety and craftsmanship. Deep focus photography details Umberto's isolation, while pointing out that countless other elderly poor people live in similar conditions. De Sica uses sound and music deftly to portray Umberto's subjective feelings and decisions. While many of De Sica's films achieved enormous critical acclaim, UMBERTO D. is often considered as the director's finest work.
Essential Cinema |
Winner of the 1956 New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film.
UMBERTO D. garnered De Sica his third New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film. The film was also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Motion Picture Story.
The lead character, Umberto D., is named after De Sica's own father. Along with many critics, De Sica considered UMBERTO D. his finest piece of work.
An actor himself, De Sica preferred to work with non-professionals in front of the camera. The lead character in UMBERTO D. Carol Battisti, was a reknowned university professor.