Friday, September 16, 2005

La Ciociara

Last night I watched an amazing film entitled "Two Women" ("La Ciociara") starring Sophia Loren. I have always wanted to see this film and when I saw it offered as a choice on Netflix I immediately placed it into my queue.

The film was directed by one of my favorite directors Vittorio De Sica. He also directed “The Bicycle Thief” ("Ladri di biciclette") which is another one of my all time favorite films and has been considered by some to be the best film of all time.

"Two Women" was released in 1960 and even after 45 years there are scenes in this film that really shook me. Loren's performance is one of the best on screen performances I have ever seen.


She deservedly won the Best Actress Academy Award in 1962 for her performance and in doing so became the first recipient of an Oscar ever given for a performance in a "foreign-language" film.

This is an extremely uncompromising film and it deals with some very serious issues of survival and political party loyalty taking place during Word War II in Italy. The scene in which Loren and her 13 year old daughter are brutally gang raped in an abandoned church is particularly hard-hitting

and may prove to be rather upsetting to some viewers.

Also, the quality of the DVD that I received from Netflix was visually inferior to say the least - though not so much that I didn’t comprehend the amazing nuances of this film.

I would suggest trying to find one with English subtitles (like the one I watched) as I have read the English dubbed version is inferior (though Loren dubbed the English in herself).

Also, look for famous French New Wave cinema heart-throb Jean-Paul Belmondo in the pivotal role of Michele.

I would consider this film to be without a doubt a "must see before you die" film - however, do your homework and try to find the best version on DVD that you can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw "Two Women" as part of a double-header in a rural Kentucky town. The other film--in a stroke of genius--was one of the British "Carry on Doctor" series. "Carry on" came first and I had the experience of being the only person laughing in a fairly crowded theater. That was disconcerting enough.

When "Two Women" came on my shock was even worse. The crowd reacted as if the dual rape was the funniest thing they had ever seen.

I have never made much sense of the savagely disparate responses, but I know that I left the theater aware that I was so different from them as to be nearly a separate species.

In the past six years I have realized that their sensibilities, if you can misuse that word, have won out. It's one thing to becut off from Richmond, KY, most of us can stand that, but to be cut off from one's country...and to see that grinning ape as its president. UM