Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
Vittorio De Sica
The film follows the anguish of the four-year-old, Prico, after his mother, Nina, leaves his father, Andrea, for her lover Roberto. Prico is sent to his aunt and then to his grandmother. Nina returns when Prico is sick and vows to give up Roberto, even though he persists in seeing her. The family situation gradually improves until they take a holiday on the Italian Riviera.Written by
Usually, a film about the passions of people, the struggles between propriety and desires, deals with the children of those involved merely by mentioning that the children are a consideration, like factors. The Children Are Watching Us centers the action around the son of a couple embroiled in the heartaches of an extra-marital affair. Although the story considers the emotions of the adults, it is the child's emotions that are at the heart of this story.
The young actor, Luciano De Ambrosis, portrays the child so well, the viewer is never taken out of the story. The director focuses on his eyes to remind us that children see (and sense) more than adults think they do.
It has been written that the action of this movie is filmed from the child's point of view, but this is not technically correct. As viewers, we see the actions of the parents and the child. What makes this film different is that the camera continually returns to the child and focuses on his actions, which are obviously in response to the actions of the adults. Other films have centered on children, but The Children Are Watching Us juxtaposes and intertwines the actions of the adults and the actions of the child, creating a clear cause and effect relationship between the two.
The son, Prico, has little control over the events of his life. This is a reality that children have to live with. The film conveys this well. Prico uses few words of dissent. He does not express his unhappiness verbally. But his eyes convey those feelings better than words ever could and underscore the fact that he has no say in the events that shape his life.
The photography in this B&W film is striking. The scenes are composed intelligently. Sometimes the camera focuses on the magnitude of buildings or spaces, emphasizing the smallness of a child.
This is a film that drags emotions out of the viewer by emphasizing the helplessness of children and the universality of its theme.
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