Cesira and her 13-year-old daughter, Rosetta, flee from the allied bombs in Rome during the second world war. They travel to the village where Cesira was born. During their journey and in the village, the mother does everything to protect Rosetta. However, on one occasion they both get raped by soldiers hiding in a church. This cruel event is too much for the always powerful fighting Cesira and she suffers from a breakdown. During their stay in the village, a young intellectual, Michele falls in love with Cesira who does not know how to reply to the advances of such a gentleman.
Running Time: 100 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
Mama Mia! Loren deservedly won a Best Actress Oscar--the first to a non-American actress in a foreign-language film--for this Vittorio De Sica film, adapted by screenwriter Cesare Zavattini from an Alberto Moravia novel. It's not a great De Sica-Zavattini collaboration;much of the movie suffers from poor pacing and listlessness, but Loren is a marvel to behold.
She plays Cesira, a young widow in 1943 Italy who leaves her grocery store in San Lorenzo in the hands of her sometime lover (Raf Vallone), fleeing Allied bombing with her teenage daughter, Rosetta (Eleanora Brown), to return to her native village. There, after an arduous journey, she meets Michele (Jean-Paul Belmondo), the intellectual son of a local farmer with whom Rosetta falls in love, though he falls for her lovely mother. As the town grows increasingly besieged by bombing and shortages, Michele is forced to guide some fleeing Germans on an escape route, while Cesira and Rosetta go back to Rome for safety. Along the way, mother and daughter suffer a tragedy that changes both their lives forever, despite Cesira's best efforts to protect her child from the ravages of war. Loren also won the Best Actress Award at Cannes and the same honor from the British Film Academy;more important, she demonstrated in this film that she was a mature actress with talent to match her looks. And that deglamourized, she was still magnificent. But Eleanora Brown's role (originally meant for Loren, with Magnani to play the mother;the latter refused) is underwritten, Belmondo's character is a rehashed cliche, and Loren's affair with Vallone has had all the sex sucked out of it. It's almost as though everyone pinned their hopes on a big, international success for Loren, so they side-stepped her earth mother getting too carnal. But if the plot turns feel predictable, Loren rises to their occasions with the primal maternal force almost as old as time itself.
De Sica and Zavattini's previous collaborations included SHOESHINE, THE BICYCLE THIEF, and UMBERTO D., while TWO WOMEN doesn't match the greatness or simplicity of those neo-realist masterworks, it remains a remarkably moving, humane vision of individual struggle in an inhumane world. www.tvguide.com
Sophia Loren, has Defiantly delivered the greatest performance in the history of movie. This film is a war film that focuses more on the people who suffer, instead of telling the story of those fighting the battle. It's also a movie about love, relationship, bonding between a woman and her daughter. Sophia's performance as the widowed mother of a teen age girl in this movie that depicted the horrors of the second great war was absolutely heart-felt and perfect. Belmondo is also very good. Young Eleonora Brown's performance gets better during the film. The last 30 minutes of the movie are poignant. It's heartbreaking to listen to Cesira apologize to Rosetta. written by Johnny 5
Vittorio De Sica
Best Actress in a Leading Role
BAFTA Film Awards
Best Foreign Actress
Blue Ribbon Award
Best Foreign Language Film
Cannes Film Festival
Golden Palm - Nominated
Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists
Best Actress (Migliore Attrice Protagonista)
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