Renato Castellani

Sog.: Fausto Tozzi, Renato Castellani; Scen.: Renato Castellani, Sergio Amidei, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Ettore Maria Margadonna, Fausto Tozzi; F.: Domenico Scala; Mo.: Jolanda Benvenuti; Scgf.: Dario Cecchi (non accred.); Mu.: Nino Rota, dirette da Franco Ferarra; Int.: Oscar Blando (Ciro), Francesco Golisano (Geppo), Liliana Mancini (Iris), Alberto Sordi (Fernando, il commesso della calzoleria), Gisella Monaldi (Tosca), Alfredo Locatelli (il Nerone), Ennio Fabeni (Bruno), Ilario Malaschini (Pirata), Luigi Valentini (Romoletto), Omero Paoloni (Coccolone), Angelo Giacometti (cameriere), Tanino Chiurazzi (Bellicapelli); Ferruccio Tozzi (padre di Ciro), Maria Tozzi (madre di Ciro), Panaccioni (se stesso), Anselmo Di Biagio (il dottorino), Lorenzo Di Marco, Gina Mascetti, Luisa Rossi, Nicola Manzari; Prod.: Sandro Ghenzi per Universalcine; Pri. pro.: 2 ottobre 1948 35mm. D.: 104’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Another wonderful Italian film, again with the aura defined as neo-realist, but with a certain flair, a life and a narrative force all of its own. It is also possible that with time – in fact quite soon – this vein will run dry but for the moment it is still owing, and with such energy.
It is not easy to narrate the plot of a film of this type, which almost invents itself as it unravels, with quick changeovers from the picaresque to the tragic, from the innocent to the brutal, without – not even concealed – a social pretext lending unity to the material, to this scorching stream of life. Because there is, when it comes down to it, indifference, or at least acceptance of inevitability, an age-old Roman ‘master copy’, a Roman language I could say. A dialect? Yes, but with the nobility of a tradition that counts – and I’m not shy to say – the Beautiful.
Between ‘42 and ‘45, children on the brink of adulthood, adolescents, in the crowded S. Giovanni neighbourhood (just one lives in the Colosseum area) play, swim, steal, fall in love and risk getting into serious trouble. But what is more important is that, in doing these things, they move around with such sprightliness (and the camera moves with them) that the audience cannot help but feel a sort of exhilarating happiness wash over them. It is as if they suddenly felt whisked away to Rome itself, among that extraordinary people, bedraggled yet magni cent, human and even too human, active and alive. This is definitely an authentic tranche de vie – to use the neorealist expression… And lacking in the tiresome moral bind of the naturalists, the dreary political aim of the populists, with undiluted classic freedom from every predetermined scheme. The lavatory abuse is undeniable (…) but the views of the Lazio countryside have such a fresh air that they generously make up for the stench.
Love – and some kind of love – is touched with extreme delicacy, and just that first kiss with the stroking of the girl’s leg is enough alone to show us that Castellani is a director. But, as I said, there is no point in analysing the single parts (the wonderful adventure of the kids pretending to be English prisoners, or the portrait of the woman who chases young men) in a film that should be appreciated primarily for its swift and irresistible galloping rhythm.

Attilio Bertolucci, Sotto il sole di Roma, “Gazzetta di Parma”, 12 February 1949

Copy From