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Umberto D.

Screening on Film
Directed by Vittorio De Sica.
With Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari.
Italy, 1952, 35mm, black & white, 89 min.
Italian with English subtitles.

A powerful diary of loneliness and old age written by the palsied hand of slow suffering, Umberto D. tells the story of an elderly man struggling for dignity and survival in a society indifferent to the needs of its frailest members. Cruelly marginalized and eventually forced onto the streets, with only his dog for companionship, Umberto is victim to an impersonal, uncaring state and a petty, hardhearted society. With minimal dialogue and a small cast of nonprofessionals, De Sica uses Carlo Battisti’s devastating performance as Umberto, the atmospheric streets of Rome and G.R. Aldo’s brilliantly crepuscular cinematography to etch an emotionally resonant portrait of societal breakdown as a quiet yet terrifyingly absolute disintegration.

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