Friday, February 11, 2011

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1970 (8.4*)
Best Foreign Film (AA)
The Finzi-Continis are a family of wealthy, aristocratic Jews living in Italy during the 1920's. They routinely open up their spacious gardens to the public so everyone can enjoy nature's beauty. Part of that beauty is Dominique Sanda, who is exquisite as Micol, who seems to enjoy toying with the emotions of her suitors between rounds of tennis and parties. The tranquility of the garden and serenity of the estate isolate the family from the growing current of fascism that will lead to the war and the holocaust.

De Sica, unlike his early films, fills Garden with lush, romantic images, in a kind of hazy, painterly color palette, almost as if seeing a film of a dream of an idyllic lifestyle that only exists briefly, if at all. Though it does not rank with De Sica's best (The Bicycle Thief, Umberto D.), it's still another classic Italian film, and well worth seeing for its own merits.

Winner of eight awards overall, including the Oscar® for foreign language film


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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