IT 1953. D: Mario Soldati. Based on: dal racconto omonimo di Luigi Pirandello. SC: Mario Soldati, Giorgio Bassani. Cinematography: Giuseppe La Torre. ED: Eraldo Da Roma. AD: Peppino Piccolo. M: Carlo Innocenzi, Armando Trovaioli. C: Miriam Bru / Myriam Bru (la ragazza madre), Andreina Paul (signora borghese), Pina Piovani (popolana), Mario Corte (Ninì), Giorgio Costantini (soldato), Antonio La Raina (venditore ambulante). P: Fortunia Film. [The film was not released in Finland]. 35 mm. 14’. B&w .
Pirandello's short story was originally published in 1903. It is a part of his project Novelle per un anno (1894–1937), comparable to A Thousand and One Nights and Decamerone. Pirandello finished 246 stories, published in 15 volumes. Il ventaglino was published in 1922 in the collection Scialle nero (Novelle per un anno I). Besides Questa è la vita Pirandello's stories have also been filmed by the Taviani brothers (Kaos).
Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna
Mario Soldati, a Writer at Cinecittà
Print from CSC – Cineteca Nazionale
E-subtitles in English by Sub-Ti Londra
Cinema Jolly, 30 June 2016
Emiliano Morreale (Bologna catalog): "The most famous episode of Questa è la vita, the episodic film based on novellas by Luigi Pirandello, is Luigi Zampa’s La patente starring Totò. However, Soldati’s little ‘one-act’ written together with Giorgio Bassani, is also worthy of mention. Like all the novelists of his generation, Soldati had been influenced by the Sicilian writer and had even had an unfortunate encounter with him on Ruttmann’s Acciaio. In this film, he turns the novella into a concentrate of his own themes, from the detailed observation of class relations to the malicious female characters and the nostalgia for the Belle époque. Above all, however, he employs his free-roaming gaze to its fullest extent in a virtuoso play of little figures and camera movements." - Emiliano Morreale
AA: The episode takes place in a park in hot Rome. Myriam Bru plays the 20 year old mother of a little boy. The country girl has been seduced and abandoned, and now she is in Rome with no place to go. She has left her man because he had asked her "to be nice to a gentleman friend. My milk dried of rage". She is too proud to beg, but her little boy must have something to eat. From an old woman she gets a piece of bread. The boy of a rich mother takes the bread and throws it into the fountain. The rich lady compensates for it with two coins. With them the woman buys a paper fan.
A well made production. A moving performance by Myriam Bru. Beautiful cinematography by Giuseppe La Torre. An enchanting score by Carlo Innocenzi and Armando Trovaioli; there is also a melismatic song (Roman? Sicilian?) backed by a guitar, and a military band. There is an atmosphere of great beauty for a story of injustice and desperation so great that the young mother contemplates jumping into the river with her son. The class divide between the rich and the poor is severe. Mario Soldati brings all this together with sophistication.
A print so brilliant that it looks like it might have been struck from the original negative.