Oct 10

“Umberto D” is a perfect example of how an Italian Neorealist film should be made.  Italian Neorealist films show poor and working class people in Italy after World WarII.  Italian Neorealist films also portray involves everyday life in Italy, at that time which involved depression and poverty.  Umberto D is great example of an Italian Neorealist film because you experience all the elements of Neorealism within the movie through the characters of Umberto and the maid.

Umberto classifies the typical character in any Italian Neorealist film.  Umberto is the main character of the film.  As viewers we see the sad experiences of Umberto a man that has almost nothing in the world, except for his dog Flick and his friend who is the maid.  The movie is primarily about Umberto trying to get enough to pay off his debt to his landlady.  Umberto does everything he can to accrue the money for his rent, including selling his most prized possessions.  He was never able to repay his debt to his landlady because the money he thought he was going to get from the government for his time as a civil servant never came, because the Italian government could not pay him.  The issue of not receiving his pensions did not only happen to Umberto, it happened to many people like him. Italy was in a financial crisis after the war, and was focused on paying back war debt.  As a result the Italian government could not pay back their citizens for work they performed.  This forced many people to get money any way they could, which included begging on the street.  Umberto did not want to beg, but he had no choice. He was happened not very good at begging, because his pride got in the way so he had Flick beg for him for a while.

The maid is also a good example of a neorealist character.  The maid is a very young girl working for the landlady and also does not have many friends besides Umberto.  The maid is a good example of a neorealist chanter as she is a person who is both depressed and poor.  The maid is over three months pregnant and she is not sure who the father is.  The father could be a man from a Naples, or a man from Venice.  Both men deny that they are the father and show no interest in raising the child.  It is evident how depressed she really is, when she breaks down and cries while making coffee by herself in the kitchen.

The maid is stuck in a poor life, for two different reasons: One of the reasons being that she does not understand the language and people would take advantage of her.  Umberto tried to teach her some grammar but it wasn’t successful.  The other reason is that even if she wanted to go back to her original home, she cannot because she is afraid her father will beat her.  She is therefore forced to stay in the landlady’s house.  Unfortunately she knows that when the landlady finds out she is pregnant, she will fire her, leaving her with a baby to support and no immediate job.

Even though Vittorio De Sica did a wonderful job of demonstrating the elements of Italian Neorealism throughout “Umberto D”, Vittorio includes something at the very end of the movie that is not characteristic of Italian Neorealism, and that is hope for the future.  After not being able to meet the rent for his room, Umberto was forced to leave.  With no money and no loved ones except for his dog, Umberto was considering suicide.  The only thing that he was concerned about was that his dog be cared for and loved.  When he realized that there was no one to do this, he tried to commit suicide with his dog.  He was almost successful, but at the last second Flick jumped out of Umberto’s hands.  At first Flick seemed angry at Umberto for even thinking about killing both of them, but he got over it quickly.  At that point, Umberto realized that maybe he does not need to have money to be happy. He surmised that if he has a dog who loves him, maybe the future can actually be bright and something to look forward to.

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3 comments so far

  1. 1 yeongbinkim
    4:31 pm - 10-20-2011

    Yea.. i felt same thing as u did for the last scene in this film… money is not everything.. and maybe money is not necessary for the happy life… but i hoped this film ends with the happy ending.. because Umberto never had happy life in this film.. he kicked out from home.. no money.. nothing except his dog… so… anyways .. nice writes lol…

  2. 2 Pawel Forfa
    4:30 am - 10-21-2011

    This movie seemed real. Pregnant woman, no idea who the father is. Well… sounds like some sticky situations that some girls got themselves in high school. I wish they followed Maria’s story towards the ending. They kind of left her off staring at Umberto from the high rise apartment building and cut her off. Despite that, the ending was indeed different from what the definition of Neo Realist films defines them. He lived, he should be dead if it’s supposed to be depressing but this ending was way better and it maybe even made a dent in Neo Realism, perhaps inspiring new genres. I’m glad Umberto found Flick and that he didn’t commit suicide. Even old movies can be entertaining for our generation without having explosions or nudity in them. Great movie

  3. 3 sandra411
    6:38 am - 12-14-2011

    I like the way you explained how it was not only the main character going through this crisis but most of the country ! And yes the character of maria was a very depressing one to see, she was going through so much in her life with the whole pregnancy and being stuck in this job that she did not seem to enjoy at all . i felt bad as mr. umberto was forced to leave his home of many years and he seemed so upset about it that like you said he considered suicide but luckily did not go through with it ! overall very good analysis made me see more of the aspects of Italian Neorealist film as well as you explained it more clearly !

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