Friday, January 14, 2011

Vittorio De Sica - La Ciociara AKA Two Women (1960)

Excerpt from Rai Internationale online (2003):

43 years after its release, "Two women (La ciociara)" is still the most hotly debated project in Vittorio De Sica's entire filmography. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia (one of the most acclaimed of post-war Italy), the film gives a charged portrait of the Italy of the common people in the nine months of German occupation in 1943, when advancing liberal new values were set against a cultural landscape left broken and numbed by war, unprepared for such sudden changes to its social make-up.

Narrowing the focus from the wider picture, the story tells of the dramatic flight of Cesira (Sophia Loren), a peasant woman who moves to Rome after marrying but is forced to flee from the capital as the war advances. Fearful for the safety of her daughter, Rosetta, just thirteen years old, the woman decides to seek refuge in the homes of relatives who live in the Ciociaria mountains, where she receives a warm welcome. Life is carefree far from the front, as they are virtually cut off from the conflict that is tearing the country apart. In this close-knit community, the lovely Cesira attracts the attention of Michele (Jean Paul Belmondo), a young intellectual who supports the partisan movement and who, falling in love with Cesira, tries to persuade her to embrace the idea of a new world illuminated by a greater sense of justice: a clash of generations develops, the outcome uncertain, and Cesira glimpses a future that she is unable to fully comprehend. The enchantment of those days comes to an abrupt end when a company of German soldiers, fleeing from the allies, takes Michele prisoner with the intention of making him guide them through the paths that cross the mountains. He is never to be seen again. Some time later, the euphoria arising from the arrival of the allied forces urges those living in exile, including Cesira and Rosetta, to return to their own homes. During the journey, the two women become victims of a traumatic event destined to ruin their their mother-daughter relationship and their very lives irreversibly.

Having ridden the storm of harsh re-reading by Italian critics - who discarded the elegant formal gloss and derided an excessive simplification of content - the film is now available on the Home Video market in what is to say the least a spectacular DVD released by Medusa. It's restoration is the work of the "Cinema Forever The Mediaset Collection" team. Entrusted to Enzo Verzini (the renowned technician who worked with Visconti, Germi, Rossellini, Fellini and Antonioni, amongst others) the film has been restored to the 1.85: 1anamorphic format, which enhances picture quality and restores the chiaroscuro effects of the film, a dominant aspect of the direction, to their original splendour. The audio track, in Italian Dolby Digital 1.0, has also been flawlessly restored and mixed.

Single ink Ciociara (1960).avi Ciociara (1960) Ciociara (1960).srt
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English and Turkish subs included.
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