Thursday, February 2, 2012

Due soldi di speranza (Italy 1952)

Due soldi di speranza is an engaging neo-realist tragi-comedy from little-kown writer/director Renato Castellani. A story of young love between a chronically unemployed ex-soldier and a willfull firebrand of a girl in an economically depressed village outside of Naples, employs high farce to telegraph the depth of social disadvantage in the immediate post-war years and the hypocrisy of state, church, and peasant mores. A maelstrom of impulsive actions reach a climactic rebellious act, which while glorious is steeped in tragedy.  A deft work with wonderful cameos and authentic vignettes, framed by a cheeky insouciant score from Alessandro Cicognini. The two leads Maria Fiore and Vincenzo Musolino are a delight.

Received a BAFTA for best film in 1954 and director Castellini was awarded the Grand Prize at Cannes in 1952.