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A Brief Vacation
A Brief Vacation
Actors: Florinda Bolkan, Renato Salvatori, Daniel Quenaud, José María Prada, Teresa Gimpera
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
PG     2003     1hr 52min

For anyone who's ever yearned for respite from a life of loveless drudgery--or just a break from the daily routine--A Brief Vacation offers a breath of fresh air. Having enjoyed latter-day success with frothy comedies and ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Florinda Bolkan, Renato Salvatori, Daniel Quenaud, José María Prada, Teresa Gimpera
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Creators: Ennio Guarnieri, Franco Arcalli, Arthur Cohn, Marina Cicogna, Cesare Zavattini, Rafael J. Salvia, Rodolfo Sonego
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Homevision
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/16/2003
Original Release Date: 02/09/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 02/09/1975
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

I've been waiting a long time for this!!!
bookloversfriend | 10/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"We saw A BRIEF VACATION when it first came out and loved it so much we watched it a second time. It is an extraordinarily
beautiful and poignant movie. The directing and acting are both superb. Memories of it have haunted us for years! Emphasis on memories: it has NEVER been available
until this DVD. With this release, the film should gain a
whole new generation of fans. We are eager to share it with
our children and friends."
One of the very best
bookloversfriend | United States | 01/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the few foreign films that is extremely realistic without being depressing.

In the first half-hour, we are made not only to see Clara's grim life but to feel it. And this is done without the usual grinding away on the same scene until it becomes unbearable. We get brief touches of so many of the aspects of Clara's life, that the weight of these has more effect that all the belabored scenes of other European films. Clara is the only one earning money. Her husband is injured and out of work. His brother is sponging off her. Her mother-in-law is senile and useless. She has three young children.

When we come in, Clara is nearing the breaking point. She breaks down, cries, swears she can't go on. Then, she pulls herself together and does go on. She rides a bicycle, takes a train and then takes a bus to get to work. We are taken into the factory where she works. De Sica says it all with pictures: the huge dirty machines, the noise, the clock. Finally, Clara nearly faints and is persuaded to go to the National Health and be examined.

Even when the doctor tells the family, she has TB and must go to a sanotorium, the family tries to keep her home and working for them. That night, in bed, she is exhausted and tells her husband she doesn't feel like it. He has sex with her anyway.

After all this, when Clara arrives at the sanotorium in the mountains, we feel her joy. The room is a bare, plain one in a square institutional building. Yet, to Clara it is paradise. She goes around beaming at the plain but clean bathroom (which she didn't have in her cramped dirty basement apartment back in Milan), at the plain bed. She turns on and off the bedside lamp. And we beam with her. Without the first half-hour, this room would have looked depressing. Now, it looks and feels like heaven.

The patients are segregated into paying and non-paying. But several of the rich patients sense Clara's inner strength and talk to her, then invite her to join them, then seek her out with their troubles. And she listens to them all and her quiet strength comforts them.

Books have been left in her room and for the first time in her life, Clara has time to read for pleasure. The books, the worldly women, the young political woman--all of these broaden Clara's outlook and she begins to grow. She also meets a man, a skilled worker, and falls in love with him.

At this point, the family visits her en masse and demands that she come home before she is cured. Her husband even tries to force sex on her in the bathroom of her room at the sanotorium. The next week, she spends the day with the man she has met, and the two make love.

Then, she is discharged. Her shock is our shock. Alone in her room, she breaks down in tears.

But it is a different woman who takes the train back to Milan. The viewer can write his/her own ending to the story; but to this viewer, Clara uses her strength and her changed view of life to free herself.

This movie would not have been as effective as it is with the performances turned in by most actresses. Florinda Bolkan gives a performance that is as moving as it is natural and unaffected. De Sica is at his best with every shot, and we can assume that De Sica used his knowledge of acting to shape the fine performances of all the cast.

Each of us needs a brief vacation now and then. This is one vacation you'll take over and over again for the rest of your life."
Finally available!! Hurrah!!!!!!!!!
James Welch | Eagle River, AK United States | 10/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been wanting to share this movie with friends for more than 30 years. It has always been on my top 10 list of best movies ever seen. What I remember most are the subtle scenes which communicate so much, the woman wrapping her meat patty from her factory provided lunch in a napkin and slipping it into her purse in order to be able to give it to her son later on. Or after finally going to see a doctor, making a quick detour first into a department store to buy new underwear, too embarrassed that the doctor would see her in what she had on. Or at the very end, when the train passes by the billboard with the Mao graffiti on it (the most subtle of political comment). This is a splendid and brilliant movie, exposing the complexity of social circumstance without ever taking the easy way out, or suggesting there is ever an easy answer, in this case just a brief vacation."
Want To Get Away?
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 03/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Perhaps no other director could have made "A Brief Vacation" except for Vittorio De Sica.

De Sica, who directed my favorite film of all time "The Bicyle Thief", is the kind of filmmkaer who is capable of projecting sincere raw emotions in his work. Whether it's "The Bicycle Thief", "Two Women" or "Umberto D." De Sica's films make us care about his characters. We have a full emotional investment in what happens to them.

"A Brief Vacation" tells the story of Clara (Florinda Bolkan) a housewife, with 3 children, who lives with her mother and brother in-law. Clara is the only one who works, since her husband was in an accident and broke his leg. But still she is expected to do for everyone and remain unappreicated. For some reason I thought of my mother while watching this movie. She too on many occasions said she never has time for herself because she's busy doing for others.

As the film goes on we find out that Clara is sick, due to the unsafe enviroment of the factory she works at. In a very telling scene notice the reaction of her family as they try to convince her the doctor was trying to scare her. The doctor recommends that Clara go for a rest. If her condition does not improve she may die.

Once away Clara doesn't want to leave. It's not that she doesn't care about her family, but, she has never done anything for herself, and finds that she enjoys her time alone. But reality will soon set in. And end her happiness.

I suppose in a worst case scenario "A Brief Vacation" could have been a cliche, overly sentimental sobfest. But De Sica and Bolkan give the film a genuine feel. We accept Clara and her problems, mostly because we can relate to her situation. As I said before I thought of my mother, other may have the same experience.

De Sica had died a year before this film was released in America, but remained one of the key figures in the Italian neo-realism movement. His films of course did more than simply tell a good story. Like the best films they were insights into their times. His films were a reflection of the social and political developments. Just as Rainer Werner Fassbinder made films dealing with Germany in post WW2 years so did De Sica with "The Bicyle Thief", "Two Women", and "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (during WW2).

"A Brief Vacation" has become an obscure title. It is not available on vhs and only recently has been released on DVD. Hopefully many people will discover this De Sica masterpiece.

Bottom-line: One of Vittorio De Sica's best films on par with "The Bicyle Thief" and "Two Women". Extremely involving."