' Children' is heart breaking and realistic.
infinitemovies | NY United States | 08/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US was my official introduction to neo-realistic filmmaking and to Vittorio De Sica. After having seen this film i just could not get over how tragic and realistic it was. The story is about a couple and their little boy who seem to live a peaceful existence but the boy knows that his mother is having an affair. Soon after she abandons the family. This causes the father and especially the boy much grief. The father is unable to care for the boy so he sends him to other family members. The boy begins to suffer internally until finally his mother decides to come back and the father reluctantly decides to accept her. The boy is happy once again but the mother's ex lover will not leave her alone and once again tries to make her leave her family for him. Soon after sad consequences follow and an ending which will make you cry enough to supply water for the world population. It is very well directed, acted, and written but it is also at times hard to take because it is so painfully realistic and also because all these tragic things are happening to an innocent child. The black and white color and photography give it in some parts a semi-documentery feel and authentic locations are used in this movie. Most of the story is seen from the child's point of view so it will affect anyone who has gone through similar situations. I could understand the child's grief so it was especially moving for me. The movie is undeniably well made but is not really the kind of movie where you plan to have repeat viewings."
The Children Are Claiming Our Love
Vincenza Leone | Catania, Italy | 07/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film can be considered as the prelude to the great season of the neo-realism. It shows, through the innocent eyes of the young Prico, the drama of a well-to-do family in the provincial Italy of the forties. De Sica is able to depict the delicate balance of a family whose focus is the child for whom the parents, Dina and Andrea, seem ready to accept the compromise of an empty marriage without passion. Dina is divided between her role as an affectionate mother who loves her child above all and her own choice as a woman who claims her right to be happy, no matter who will pay the price for her egotism. Andrea is ready to forgive in the desperate attempt to reconstruct what is irreparably broken. The whole story is developed through the uneasiness of the young Prico who suffers from divided loyalties: he does not want to destroy his illusion of happiness under cover of the silent acceptance of his mother's deceit. This drama, with tragic tones, marks the beginning of De Sica's journey into the complex universe of childhood. He deepens the theme in `Sciuscià' and `The Bicycle Thief'. In these last two films the setting is shifted from the private world to the public one, where people no longer have a Greek Chorus-like role, but they are actors whose stories are linked with the story of the main characters. All of these three films share children's desperate demand for love. It can have the shape of an escape from an unbearable situation, as in `Children Are Watching Us', or the dream-like framework of a white horse, as in `Sciuscià', or turn a child into a silent angel, as in `The Bicycle Thief', where the son is ready to help the father, involuntary victim of society. I find particularly enlightening the speech by the counsel for the defense during the trial in `Sciuscià'. He says that the men, following their own passions, let childhood go on its own; that children are lonely, always lonelier. `The Children Are Watching Us' is a moving film that cannot be missed by people with a poetic heart and boundless love for childhood."
A forgotten classic worth discovering
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 08/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Children Are Watching Us is for my money a better film than Bicycle Thieves - the unforgiving ending is certainly much harder hitting. Set in the last great summer of Fascist Italy, much of it intriguingly takes place in a Rome and a coastal resort that don't even notice there's a war going on: no shortages, no bomb damage, not even a single army uniform in sight, which in a way gives it a more timeless quality - even the apartment blocks its middle class characters live in can still be found all over Italy. The story is a simple one, with a child caught in the middle of his parents dissolving marriage and finding his loyalties torn as his weak-willed mother constantly returns to her lover, but it's told with a surprising degree of naturalism. It also takes on an extra dimension with the knowledge that De Sica was himself having an affair when he was making it. Very impressive.
The film is beautifully restored and while the extras aren't plentiful - recent interviews with child star Luciano De Ambrosis and critic Callisto Cosulich and a booklet - they make up for in it terms of quality."
Deeply moving movie
Stanley K. Wong | sunnyvale, ca | 08/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't go into much detail.
It was shot very well. I loved the movie. It moved me and was a heartbreaking situation.
The end was simply stunning. This is about as perfect a masterpiece you can ever watch if you don't mind subtitles.
I highly recommend it...it will stay with you forever in your memory!"