Bitter Rice (Riso amaro)1949
Bitter Rice (Riso amaro) (1949)
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Critic Reviews for Bitter Rice (Riso amaro)
There is so much to be learned from Bitter Rice, even today. It is a perfect surprise, proving how important and how much fun it is to discover older movies with fresh eyes.
[A] femininely-charged setting sets Bitter Rice apart from the masculine, urban underworlds typically inhabited within the noir genre.
A quintessential film of Italian neorealism of postWWII, though it became an international sensation due to the overt sex appeal and shot of breasts of Silvana Mangano, then only 19.
Audience Reviews for Bitter Rice (Riso amaro)
a mixed bag, if there ever was one
the beginning of the end for italian neorealism was when directors started injecting sex and violence for better box office. this film sets out to explore the exploitation of female rice pickers in the italian countryside and ends in a noirish shootout. in between we have mud wrestling, gorgeous 18 yr old silvana mangano dancing and vittorio gassman as a gangster hiding out from the police, but after 50 odd years, the film holds up surprisingly well. recommended
What better way to depict the clash of cultural values than by blending elements of Neo-Realism with American film genres? The setting of the panoramic Po River Valley is obviously Marxist, as many felt this was the only area in which a true 'Workers Revolution' could occur. The plot is melodramatic, involving lust, crime and murder. Silvana is closely associated with Americanism in her love of tabloids, boogie-woogie, and bubblegum. De Santis' incorporation of gangster and western formulas celebrates American cinema, showing its appeal, yet almost undermining the film's message supporting traditional values. Americanism is ultimately condemned, as Silvana realizes the promise for a new way of life is empty, bringing the film to a shockingly dramatic conclusion. Ironically, this film launched Silvana Mangano as a sex symbol. This is another milestone and testament of the many achievements in Italian film. Bravo!
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