Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Umberto D, Vittorio De Sica, 1953

This film made me cry.

Already a fan of Italian director, Vittorio De Sica  (I had watched his extraordinary film, The Bicycle Thieves, many months ago, which also made me cry) I recently viewed Umberto D.

This was my second viewing of Umberto D, a film about an elderly pensioner struggling to survive during Italy’s postwar economic boom.

Umberto’s wealthy landlady evicts Umberto because she wants to use Umberto’s rented room to extend her living room and because Umberto is behind on his rent.   Alone, penniless and with nowhere to go Umberto does his utmost to maintain his dignity whilst trying to find the means to survive.  But the city seems void of any human compassion, even when he encounters former colleagues and friends.

There is a parallel story about the landlady’s kind maid, Maria, a very young girl, alone and pregnant.  She too seems destined to become homeless and penniless like Umberto.

To me this film is as much about Umberto’s poverty and homelessness (the desperation is palpable!) as it is about Umberto’s companionship with his ever-faithful dog, Flicke (Do they give Oscars to dogs??) 

It is Umberto’s love and concern for Flicke, which keeps him going. 

Umberto D is cast with non-professional actors but you wouldn’t know it from the performances and many of the cast members went on to have successful acting careers.

This story is heart-wrenching, but a must-see. It’s a masterpiece.  I love this film and I love Flicke.


  1. Do you own this Patty? I would be really curious to see it.

  2. Yep. I own a copy. Dan's borrowing it at the moment, but you can borrow it next.