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The Children Are Watching Us

(Italian 1944 b 79')

En: 5 Ed: 6

A small boy witnesses his mother leave his father for a lover and return, only to leave again.

Nina (Isa Pola) takes her son Prico (Luciano de Ambrosis) out and lets him ride a scooter while she talks with Roberto (Adriano Rimoldi), who says he is going to Genoa and wants her to come with him. Her husband Andrea (Emilio Cigoli) goes to a meeting that discusses using the elevator less. He finds that his wife left and tells housekeeper Agnese (Giovanna Cigoli) to take Prico to his aunt Zia Berelli (Dina Perbellini), who makes corsets. Andrea goes and asks Zia why Nina left, but she does not know. Prico is with his invalid grandmother. Paolina (Zaira La Fratta) puts him to bed and goes out to see a man. Prico makes a pot fall on her head. Andrea takes Prico with him on a train. Nina visits Prico but says she can't stay. Andrea comes home, and she asks him to take her back. He says he will only because of the child.

Zia tells her sister Nina that Roberto is back and wants to see her. Agnese asks Andrea to give Prico money so he can buy Nina flowers. Nina thanks Andrea for a gift. Roberto calls on Nina, but Prico answers the door. Prico hears his mother telling Roberto not to see her anymore, and he bites Roberto's hand. At work Andrea is advised to go on a vacation. At the beach Nina takes Prico in the water. Roberto asks Agnese for Nina's address, but she does not give it to him. Nina and Prico say goodbye as Andrea leaves on a train. In the evening Prico watches a magician, and Nina sees Roberto. He walks with Nina and says he is going back to Genoa in three days. Prico sees Roberto on the beach kissing his mother. Prico tries to go back to Rome and is chased away from the railroad tracks. He runs from a drunk along the shore at night. Police find him and bring him back to Nina.

Andrea and Agnese put up new curtains for Nina, but Prico is returned alone. Andrea asks Prico about Nina and who came. Andrea receives a letter and gets upset. A neighbor asks about Nina, and Andrea is concerned about gossip in the building. Andrea buys Prico a hat and takes him to a priest, crying as he leaves. Nina and Agnese mourn and go to the priest to see Prico, who cries too.

Considered a pioneering realist film, a child suffers the loss of his mother as she breaks up with his father. Perhaps this story reflects the loss of innocence in Fascist Italy.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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