La Ciociara aka Two Women, based on the novel by Alberto Moravia
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Two Women is one of the best films ever made.
You can find it on the New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:
The film has won:
- The Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading role and the BAFTA in the same category for Sophia Loren
- The Golden Globe for Best foreign Language Film
- The Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress
Sofia Scicolone- as Sophia Loren was born- is one of the most magnificent, talented, resplendent actresses.
Her roles are memorable:
- La Ciociara, A Special Day, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – I have noted on the latter- are just a few examples
As for the genius directing this masterpiece, Vittorio de Sica will always be remembered for other works of art like:
- Bicycle Thieves, Miracle in Milan, Umberto D., Marriage Italian Style, The Garden of Finzi Conti
In La Ciociara, Sophia Loren is superb in the role of Cesira, who is the anxious mother of a teenager: Rosetta.
The action takes place during the World War II, under the bombardments and within the terror of conflict.
At the start, after a terrible bombing taking place over Rome, Cesira decides to take her daughter, who has a weak heart away.
First the mother meets with an old friend and we realize that the husband that Cesira had married was not good enough for her.
The Two Women embark on a train ride, to seek safety in the countryside that would offer protection.
Or so they hope.
They have to abandon the train as it has stopped and they continue their journey, coming across partisans.
Notwithstanding the righteousness of the cause of fighting against the Nazis, these show a dark side when facing the Two Women.
They want the Two Women to be their servants, using the disturbing logic that if their cause is good, serving them is the right thing.
But Cesira is a Wonder Woman, gifted, proud, brave, determined, a role model, gritty and insubordinate.
Her short answer if: No Way!!
She meets an idealist, Michele, who is portrayed by a restrained Jean Paul Belmondo, in a rather unusual role for him.
Michele falls in love with Cesira, who in turn jokes with her teenage daughter that she would allow Rosetta to marry the young man, if only the thirteen year old would be just a little older.
Food is running short in this village where Cesira was born and there is a scene that I recollect on the subject.
The worried mother tries to get some food from a shepherd that has an interesting attitude towards prices:
- If I sell you at my price, you would be angry with me and if I sell you at your price, then I would be mad at you…
Therefore, the Two Women have to travel back to Rome and on the way tragedy strikes- in what manner I will not say.
It is just that relativity is in evidence again:
- As in the case of the partisans who wanted servants just because they were on the right side, here again- allied soldiers are responsible for an outrageous act which would be called a war crime today.
This is a stupendous movie.