Umberto D Reviews
It's been quite a long time since I saw a film so beautiful, involving and heartbreaking. I'm not embarrassed to say I broke into tears at the finale. What a splendid achievement.
Yet, the movie is no Capra or Wilder and I cannot see the genius in it.
The film is a sad little slice of life about an old man named Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti) who?s in debt because of a cut pension. His back rent is due in a few days, and he doesn?t quite have enough money to pay. His uncaring landlord knows he can?t pay and has every intention of throwing him out on the street. Facing homelessness, Umberto considers suicide but hesitates because he doesn?t want to leave his beloved dog Flike without a master. Umberto spends most of the remainder of the film trying to find a place for Flike so he can kill himself in peace.
As you can tell from the description, this isn?t a comedy. Neo-realism is not the place to go for easy carefree viewing, but the overall message is powerful and worth the sadness one must go through. Part of what makes these movies so sad is just how realistic they are, the cast is made up of non-actors, the camera work is documentary-like, and the locations ooze of sadness.
Like in Bicycle Thieves, there is a tragic irony at the center of Umberto D, that Umberto does more to help his dog find a home than society ever did to help Umberto. Of course this isn?t leading up to a happy ending, but the ending wasn?t quite as bleak as I expected. This is classic Neo-realism, not quite the classic that Bicycle Thieves is, but still an extraordinary film.