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Shoeshine
(Sciuscia)

Screening on Film
Directed by Vittorio De Sica.
With Rinaldo Smordoni, Franco Interlenghi, Anniello Mele.
Italy, 1946, 35mm, black & white, 93 min.
Italian with English subtitles.

De Sica’s heart-wrenching portrait of two impoverished shoeshine boys uses the ever-present Allied soldiers and bombed ruins as a constant reminder of the still reverberating devastation of war. De Sica and Zavattini’s interest in symbols and, increasingly, fantasy, is legible in the figure of the horse that becomes the boys’ sole source of happiness and, almost simultaneously, despair. Rarely screened today, Shoeshine stands with Bunuel’s Los Olvidados as one the great films about children.

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