Pre-opening night of the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Campo San Polo Arena, Venice< Back
Roma ore 11 (1952) by Giuseppe De Santis
06 | 26 | 2012
the 60th anniversary of the film's premiere
Renewing the tradition, the pre-opening night of the Venice International Film Festival will be held again this year in the historic city centre, on Tuesday August 28th at the Campo San Polo Arena, in collaboration with the City of Venice - Circuito Cinema Comunale.
The film Roma ore 11 (Rome 11:00, 1952), the masterpiece by Giuseppe De Santis, one of the fathers of Neorealism, will be shown on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the film’s debut screening, in a new copy provided by the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale di Roma.
The 69th Venice International Film Festival will take place on the Lido from 29 August to 8 September 2012, directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.
Roma ore 11 by Giuseppe De Santis, released in February 1952, produced by Titanus and starring Lucia Bosé, Carla Del Poggio, Raf Vallone and Massimo Girotti, is based on the investigation conducted by Elio Petri, who was the assistant director for the film, in the aftermath of a tragic event that took place in Rome in 1951. The screenplay was written by De Santis himself, with the collaboration of Cesare Zavattini, Basilio Franchina, Rodolfo Sonego and Gianni Puccini.
Synopsis: responding to a newspaper ad, two hundred girls line up in Via Savoia in Rome to apply for a job as a typist in the office of an accountant. At a moment when Italy is exasperated by unemployment, but even more so by the impossibility for women of finding a job, young women of every type and social background come for an interview: fallen nobility, prostitutes seeking a new life, wives with unemployed husbands, daughters of formerly wealthy families who can no longer survive on their pension. Crowded on the stairs of the small building, they exchange impressions and hint at the misery of their lives and the expedients required to survive. An argument for precedence in line transforms the wait into tragedy. The handrail on the stairs collapses, destroying the steps one by one, and causing the women to fall; many of them are injured and one of them, Anna Maria Baraldi, dies. When they are taken the hospital, a bitter surprise awaits them: to medicate them, the administration demands payment of the 2,300 Lire daily fee. Many of them are forced to run home because they have no money.
Giuseppe De Santis (Fondi, 1917 – Rome, 1997) is considered one of the founders and leading figures of Italian Neorealism in film. Formerly a critic and in the pre-war period heart and soul of the magazine “Cinema”, which sought to carry Italian film beyond the cliché of “white telephones”, he initially collaborated with Luchino Visconti (in Ossessione (Obsession, 1943) for which he also wrote the screenplay) and Roberto Rossellini (in Desiderio (Desire,1946)). In 1948 he made his first feature-length film, Caccia tragica (The Tragic Hunt), which because of the themes it addressed (the struggle between the peasants of a cooperative and a group of agrarians), the rhythm of the popular drama and some “American” narrative features (action and drama scenes, eroticism), left its mark as an innovation in the Neorealist period. These characteristics contributed significantly to the box-office success of his next film, Riso amaro (Bitter Rice, 1949), which dealt with the hard struggle in the life of the women working in the rice fields, in a story that combines a political analysis of the class struggle with the private sphere of the characters. De Santis chose an exceptional newcomer as his star, Silvana Mangano. For this film De Santis and Carlo Lizzani won the nomination at the Oscars for Best Story. His directing style stands out in particular for the expert and original use of the crane, the dolly and the pan focus technique, which allowed him to dominate wide but controlled movement especially in crowd scenes.
The same themes, against the background of a conflict-prone peasant society, in his native city of Fondi, are developed in his next film Non c’è pace tra gli ulivi (Under the Olive Tree, 1950). In Roma ore 11, and Un marito per Anna Zaccheo (A Husband for Anna, 1953), which describes the restlessness of a Neapolitan girl (Silvana Pampanini) tormented by her beauty, De Santis temporarily leaves the countryside to deal with urban and middle-class themes. In Giorni d’amore (Days of Love, 1954) and Uomini e lupi (Men and Wolves,1956) he returns to his original themes of life in small towns. Giorni d’amore in particular is his first colour film and won the Nastro d’argento for Best Actor (Marcello Mastroianni).
His next film La strada lunga un anno (The Year Long Road), tells the curious story of an isolated town in the mountains, where an unemployed man has an idea: to build a road that connects the place to the coast. Filmed in 1957 in Istria, and written together with Tonino Guerra, the film was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film, A new period in the production of De Santis began with La garçonnière (1960), which tells the story of a man who has an affair (played by Raf Vallone) but is disappointed in the end and returns to his family; it continues with Italiani brava gente (1964), an Italian-Soviet coproduction about the retreat of the Italian army from Russia, in which ideology returns in the form of the proletarian revolution (from each side of the battle) against the war; and ends with Un apprezzato professionista di sicuro avvenire (1972), with Lino Capolicchio, in which De Santis addresses the social issues and mores of Italian comedy of that period.