A Garibaldian in the Convent
(Un garibaldino al convento)

Screening on Film
Directed by Vittorio De Sica.
With Carla Del Poggio, Maria Mercader, Leonardo Cortese.
Italy, 1942, 35mm, color, 83 min.
Italian with English subtitles.
Print source: Cinecittá Luce

Like Visconti and Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica began his career in the early 1940s, when the film industry was still under fascist control. One of his earliest films as a director is this charming character study about a young man fighting for Italy's unification. Wounded and left behind by his comrades, he is given sanctuary in a convent which also happens to be the location of a girls' boarding school, setting the stage for a romantic triangle when two students vie for the soldier's affection. Though sentimentally presented, this seriocomic melodrama's politics remain fascinatingly canny; there is plenty of Italian nationalism on display to please the Fascist censors, but the hero actually belongs to an underground militant movement and is hiding from hostile authorities. – DP

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