I bambini ci guardano (The Children Are Watching Us) (1944)

I bambini ci guardano (The Children Are Watching Us)

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Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Vittorio De Sica, Cesare Zavattini, Cesare Giulio Viola, Adolfo Franci, Margherita Magilone
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 14, 2006
Runtime:
Criterion Collection

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Cast


as Nina

as Andrew

as Zia Berelli

as Mrs. Uberti

as Aunt Berelli

as Mrs. Berelli

as Commendatore

as Gigi Sharlani
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Critic Reviews for I bambini ci guardano (The Children Are Watching Us)

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | September 30, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

A painfully moving portrait that shows the affects of a family break-up has on a sensitive 4-year-old boy and destroys his childhood innocence.

Full Review… | January 30, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The painful and necessary maturation of a child and of Italian cinema

Full Review… | August 12, 2012
CinePassion

The final minutes of The Children Are Watching Us comprise one of those searing movie moments, with images you'll never forget

Full Review… | May 20, 2006
Filmcritic.com

Culture vultures dismissed the film at the time of its release because of its protoneorealist sentimentality, but this is precisely what makes De Sica's work so special.

Full Review… | March 18, 2006
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for I bambini ci guardano (The Children Are Watching Us)

De Sica's fifth film already shows his mastery of the medium. This portrait of loneliness and loss is a must for any neo-realist junkies

kenstachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

"The Children are Watching Us" is another emotion filled and beautifully filmed masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica, who also made the timeless "Bicycle Thieves". This is another small scale drama that is touching, genuine and timeless in it's story of a child who bears witness to his parents demise and even more tragic circumstances. I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen and Luciano De Ambrosis (as Prico) gives a completely believable performance and Emilio Cigoli as the child's father is truly devastating in his performance. I can't recommend this one enough, much like "Bicycle Thieves", is a wonderfully compelling and emotion filled work from a master Director who specializes in these type of films and is worth a watch for anyone who enjoys cinema!

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

A young boy (DeAmbrosis) is emotionally slapped about, and passed hand-to-hand, as his mother (Pola) cycles through deserting then reconciling with her husband (Emilio Cigoli), then her lover (Rimoldi). In short order, the viewer sees De Ambrosis rapidly come to understand, and adapt to, the crueler world that is life beyond childhood. In the end, little DeAmbrosis is forced to make the most adult decision seen in the film. A Criterion resto.

Aside from being among the first of the Italian neorealist films (primarily defined by use of non-professional actors in routine situations using actual locations), it's best remembered for the one of the most heart-tugging performances by a four-year-old ever captured on film. Unknown DeAmbrosis delivers an extraordinarily expressive, emotional and tormented performance.

The film, as well as its title, intend to remind the viewer to mind carefully the negative impact selfish, illogical (and hormonal) adult behaviors can have on the lives and minds of children, reminding sometimes in subtle ways. The child views a puppet show, intended to be humorous, where two men battle to settle ownership of their lover; immediately thereafter the child refuses to share his toy scooter. As the affair progresses, the child is forced to comprehend the necessity of lying straight into the face of his own father.

There is other interesting content. In a swipe at the corporate aspects of fascism, squabbling condo owners conclude it's better to not use the elevator going down rather than to pay for repairs, while a empty, skewed picture frame hangs behind the governing body, representing its lack of true leadership.

DVD extras include an interview with a far older DeAmbrosis, explaining the sources of his able performance.

RECOMMENDATION: Viewable by all, but primarily recommended to film history completists.

TonyPolito
TonyPolito Polito

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