The celebrated director of neoreliast masterpieces including Bicycle Thieves and Shoeshine, Vittorio De Sica once again stuck gold in 1970. After ten years of trying, he finally adapted Giorgio Bassani’s celebrated novel to great acclaim and an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
Set at the outbreak of War, De Sica’s film tells the story of the Finzi-Continis, an aristocratic Jewish family protected by the walls of their idyllic estate. Whilst outside Mussolini bans Jews from tennis courts, the Finzi-Continis are not worried as they rally on their own, living in their dreamland. Giorgio (Lino Capolicchio) is the middle-class Jew in love with his childhood friend, Micol (Dominique Sanda) of the Finzi-Contini family, but she is in love with a gentile and wanting of experiences outlawed by the new government. With Giorgio’s separation of Micol, De Sica tracks the loss of an idyllic way of life, from the tennis courts to the waiting rooms where Jews await transportation to the concentration camps.
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