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Sciuscià 1946
Description: At a track near Rome, shoeshine men are watching horses run. Two of the men Pasquale, an orphan, and Giuseppe, his younger mate are riding. The pair have been saving to purchase a horse of their own to ride...
Released: 26 Aug 1947 Director: Vittorio De Sica Writers: Sergio Amidei (story), Adolfo Franci (story), Cesare Giulio Viola (story), Cesare Zavattini (story), Sergio Amidei (screenplay), Adolfo Franci (screenplay), Cesare Giulio Viola (screenplay), Cesare Zavattini (screenplay) Actors: Franco Interlenghi, Rinaldo Smordoni, Annielo Mele, Bruno Ortenzi Genres: Drama
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Sciuscià Reviews:

Since I enrolled in International Cinema at my university, I've had the occasion to see classic foreign movies in the theatre, and it's really opened me up to the genre. I'd have to tell that this film (Shoeshine, in English) struck me as one of the most strong I've seen yet, a sad, bleak commentary on children's lives in postwar Italy. Shoeshine dealswith a pair of kids living on the street, greatest mates who shine shoes for a living and whose best dream is to purchase a horse, something they should now take care of and call their own. Pasquale, the older boy, and Giuseppe, the younger, are drawn into a case they don't quite understand the weight of. Not knowing that the Italian society is chaotic after the fight (when kids under ten years old are place into prison for crimes like vagrancy), Pasquale and Giuseppe are coerced into doing a favor for Giuseppe's brother, Attilio Filipucci -- they are to bring and sell smuggled American blankets to a lady fortune-teller for the Filipucci family's profit.Without warning, police appear at the fortune-teller's house, and question her. The men are paid not to tell anything, and are paid just enough to pool their cash and purchase the horse. Unfortunately, the fortune-teller has the men taken from the road and into police custody, where, though claiming not to know anything, are fingerprinted and thrown into a juvenile prison. The prison and happenings that occur in it force the greatest mates apart, and the previously light-hearted storyline turns ugly. The boys' environment corrupts them, and innocence is quickly lost.Directed by the popular Vittorio De Sica, and with Cesare Zavattini doing his trademark poetic screenplay, Shoeshine definitely deserves its zone as one of the first foreign movies to with the Oscar of the same name. The Neo-realist De Sica does contain some comic relief in the movie, and it's not all serious and depressing... The line from Giuseppe to Pasquale as they're walking up a flight of stairs, "Elevators sure are great," and Pasquale's respond of "Yes, I slept in one for quite a while," is one example.To tell any more would give away the story, and you simply gotta experience this classic for yourselves. My rating: 9/10.


Sciuscia, or Shoeshine, says a tragedy involving two boys, Pasquale and Giuseppe, both of whom test and create cash from shining shoes, and also in dealing with black store goods. They hope to purchase a horse one day (a unbelievable opening shot of a horse running quick gets this mission across since this is at its core a movie of adolescence), but complications involving Giuseppe's older brother and gang land the two men in jail just as they have enough for the horse. The movie then deals with the men in the reformatory/prison, over-crowded with conniving, shady influences as cell-mates, as well as the folks who run the prison. To say anymore of the plot would crash it for the viewer who would go out of his method to search this - it's near impossible to find, which is a shame since The Bike Thief and Umberto D. are readily accessible in most shops and rentals - and it's enough to tell that much of the movie relies more on hero than story. Because the director's dealing with a group of near total unknowns, they come first. This film, by Vittorio De Sica, was made very later after the Fight had decimated the country he lived in. He didn't just wish to create this movie, he had to- these characters are as true as their backdrop, a country still in the aftermath of a fascist state of affairs, and since the movie deals with kids there's all the more emotion to it. The only, very minor liability in the movie is that the drama in the material isn't as easy and daily as DeSica's later, more popular efforts; if it was under various direction it could've become a forgettable tearjerker. But the tragedies of these characters, Pasquale and Giuseppe, is splendid in the humanity that they feel, as it unfolds, and by the end it rings as real as any another given neo-realist effort of the late 40's and early 50's. Shoeshine is one of those rarities that may give a tear-jerker to someone who isn't expecting one, and I mean that as a compliment. Note, if you search this tape, it may be rather grainy and slightly shifty in frame, and the subtitles aren't complete- not to downplay the worth of the movie in and of itself, however.


(Spoilers) The separation of hands; that's what the film is about. In postwar Rome two shoe shine boys, young friends, after some terrible luck with adult black-marketeering, and false accusation of theft, are sent to a Rome juvenile prison. As every is place into separate cells, their hands cling, resistant to the forced separation of their hands, of their affections."Shoe Shine," one of the most devastating movies of all time about nice youth in terrible trouble, is really about what this separation of hands implies. They and we are thrust amid uncaring officials, in a prison that seems like a slow-to-die fascist institution in this post-fascist Italy. A prison inspector still imparts, involuntarily, the fascist salute. The upraised hand of the fascist salute contrasts with the desperate friendship and fraternal love in the hands of the two boys, Pasquale and Giuseppe, whom the system will harm in the worst method possible, by separating them, by turning one vs the other, by causing one to be responsible for the death of the other. Is there any greater cruelty?"Shoe Shine" is one of my favourite movies of all time, and one of the best and most overwhelmingly moving Italian movies ever made…in some methods even more potent than director De Sica's "The Bike Thief" or "Umberto D." The two men are beautifully played by Franco Interlenghi as the older boy, Rinaldo Smordoni as the younger. In addition to them is other figure of innocence, the tiny Neapolitan Raffaele (Aniello Mele). He is in this hell-hole for children merely because he has been abandoned by his mother. Sick and doomed to TB, despite the humane concern (the only real adult humanity we see here) of the fresh prison assistant Bartoli, he is a son anyone in his right mind would be honored to have. He commands respect even with the tyrannical prison chief Staffera when he slaps everyone to search out about the source of a chisel in a cell. He does not dare lay his hand to this generous tiny person who gives his meal away who shows a kindness of a stature beyond his years.Raffaele was the boy-saint who tried to re-join the hands of his two friends, Giuseppe and Pasquale. This fails. The outside forces are too massed. In the tragic end, it is Pasquale who screams his lost friend's name, his hands trying to stir Giuseppe's actually unmoving body. His hands.



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