Bleak As It Might Be

A very wise and learned man recently reminded me that we often need to suffer in order to achieve meaningful growth. By opening ourselves up to the pain and trials of others, we promote meaningful thought and hopefully find paths to understanding.

Thus the characters included here must obviously face their struggles for the purposes of this article, and honorably, for our greater good.

Umberto D.

Umberto D.

Umberto D. (1952) is a product of the Italian neo-realist film movement. This is not Vittorio De Sica’s most famous film, but his loving devotion to it is evident through the compassion shown towards the main character.

The film portrays an aging man from the lower class as he grapples to navigate his life, despite a merciless and apathetic society. Umberto D. is a very fine piece of cinema and most worthy of remembrance.

The Pawnbroker

The Pawnbroker

Rod Steiger’s rendering of The Pawnbroker (1964), is possibly the greatest performance of his lifetime.

Sidney Lumet directs with a unique mixture of styles. Fast cuts to flashbacks of the character’s imprisonment in a concentration camp have a very European feel. These are juxtaposed with the cinema verite style sequences of a New York City ghetto. Also present is a timely Jazz soundtrack provided by Quincy Jones.

The Pawnbroker is both understated and effective. The film is also very original in its execution. This one is not to be missed.

Until next time, I hope you have a great viewing experience. Comments are welcomed at cinespire@gmail.com.


About the Author

Norbert made Murfreesboro, Tenn., his home in 1997. He conceived the Living Room Cinema column in 2006, and submits them regularly to the Murfreesboro Pulse. Aside from his love of films, Norbert is also an avid photographer. He is the very proud father of two, he beats on an old guitar, and plays a dicey game of Chess at best. Like Living Room Cinema at facebook.com/livingroomcinema.

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