Umberto D

Italian neorealism was one of Italy’s finest cinematic movements, characterized by stories set amongst the poor and the working class, filmed on location, frequently using non-professional actors.
Its films mostly contend with the difficult economic and moral conditions of post-World War II Italy, representing changes in the Italian psyche and conditions of everyday life, including poverty, oppression, injustice, and desperation.
One of the most prominent directors was Vittorio de Sica, who’s movies I adore. “Bicycle Thieves” (1948 ) and “Miracle in Milan” ( 1951 ) are amongst his most famous works.
My personal favourites though are “Umberto D” ( 1952 ) and the miraculous “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” ( 1970 ), the latter one of my desert island films.
“Umberto D” is a very special story about an old man, who as a pensioner loses his home and has to live in abject poverty. The story is told in a non sentimental way, the highlight the scene where he cannot bring himself to beg in the streets because he is ashamed of it. A real gem of a film, all actors were amateurs.
It was supposedly de Sica’s favourite film: “Umberto D. is… a movie I have seen a hundred times, that I may love most of all.”
Here is an introduction by Martin Scorsese.