Europa Cinema > 15:30


Introduced by

Emiliano Morreale


Wednesday 28/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Molti sogni per le strade was released in 1948, the year of Bicycle Thieves, and surprisingly, the similarities between the films have not been acknowledged. Here, De Sica deals with the theft of a bicycle, which he rode in the film with which Camerini launched his career, Gli uomini, che mascalzoni... Meanwhile, his “master” (as De Sica called him, receiving the ironic epithet “school master” in return) constructs his film around the theft of an automobile, of which his protagonist is not the victim but the perpetrator. This highlights the contradiction between ownership and use that underpins many of Camerini’s stories. Girotti (who claims that Camerini actually preferred Peppino De Filippo for the role) plays an unemployed man who, following an argument with his wife (Anna Magnani) who reproaches him for their poverty when their child asks for a present he sees in a shop window, steals a car from the garage that his friend is guarding. […] Girotti attempts to sell the car without mentioning it to his wife, but she spots him and suspects that he is having an affair; so, together with the boy, she follows him on a journey which occupies the rest of the film. […]
During the trip, various unusual comic situations occur; most notable is the baptism celebration, which they attend in the hope of selling the car to an oversized gentleman who is ultimately so moved by the priest’s homily that he ends up confessing. However, the situation which best reveals the film’s unusual politics is the one in which he tries to drive the car through a left-wing meeting, provoking an argument with the participants and then the intervention of a policeman who is sympathetic to what he interprets as the impatience of a committed monarchist. If the film is not lacking in Camerini touches (the theft itself, Girotti being tempted to refer to himself as a “scoundrel” to his wife), there are also symptoms of the emergence of a new cinematic era, from the Roman inflections of Magnani’s dialogue to the voice-over which frames the film. […] A device typical of neorealism, the voice-off represents the illusionary nature of objectivity and stereotyping.

Sergio Grmek Germani, Mario Camerini, La Nuova Italia, Florence 1980

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Piero Tellini. Scen.: Piero Tellini, Mario Camerini. F.: Aldo Tonti. M.: Adriana Novelli, Mario Camerini. Scgf.: Alberto Boccianti. Mus.: Nino Rota. Int.: Anna Magnani (Linda), Massimo Girotti (Paolo Bertoni), Checco Rissone (Donato), Dante Maggio (Emilio), Checco Durante (parroco), Luigi Pavese (Giulio Carocci), Giorgio Nimmo (Romoletto), Enrico Glori (ricettatore), Peppino Spadaro (commissario). Prod. Lux Film. DCP. D.: 90’. Bn.


Film Notes

According to Basilio Franchina, who collaborated on Una voce umana, the encounter between Rossellini and Cocteau was not the work of French critics, who supported both, nor thanks to Paulvé or Josette Day. […] Rather, it was Anna Magnani who brought the two together and helped overcome any reservations. […] Cocteau affirms that: “It is thanks to Paisà, as far as I am concerned, and Le Sang d’un poète, in the case of Rossellini, that we decided to collaborate and to work with Anna Magnani, who is incredible as the only actor in this version of La Voix humaine.” In his on-set correspondence, the journalist Bruno Matarazzo confirms what Cocteau claimed: “After watching Le Sang d’un poète, Rossellini and Cocteau became friends and Rossellini himself asked to make [La Voix humaine], just as the author intended. The latter, who had met Anna Magnani, suddenly realised that he had solved two problems: he had found the perfect director and the perfect actress for his film”. […]
The author did not raise any objections to the changes Rossellini made to the play… “I recall our collaboration as a sort of friendly miracle”. […] Apart from the artistic differences between the pair, this encounter constituted a moment of fundamental change for Rossellini […]. “What I did with [Una voce umana] had never been tried before!. […] More than any other story, Una voce umana gave me the opportunity to use the camera as a microscope, especially since the phenomenon it would be studying was called Anna Magnani. […] This idea, which was pushed to the extreme in Una voce umana, was useful for all the films I made subsequently because at certain points in the filming, I felt the need to set the screenplay aside in order to follow the character’s innermost thoughts, those which perhaps even I was not really aware of. This “microscopic aspect” of the cinema is also a part of neorealism: a moral approach which then becomes an aesthetic one.”

Adriano Aprà, Per un cinema microscopico, in La Voix humaine, “Quaderni della Fondazione Donizetti”, n. 4, 2006

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalla piéce La voce umana (1930) di Jean Cocteau. Scen.: Roberto Rossellini. F.: Robert Juillard. M.: Eraldo Da Roma. Scgf.: Christian Bérard. Mus.: Renzo Rossellini. Int.: Anna Magnani (donna al telefono). Prod.: Tevere Film. DCP. D.: 35’. Bn.