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Home > Festival Archives > Around the selection

Around the selection 2001

Tribute to Vittorio de Sica

The Cannes Film Festival, in association with Cinecittà Holding, pays tribute to
Vittorio De Sica, who would have been 100 years old in 2001.
On this occasion, Miracolo a Milano (1951 Palme d'or at the Cannes Festival)
and Ladri di biciclette will be projected on Tuesday May 15 in Salle Buñuel.
This homage will also include a new exhibition presented in the Palais' Press


Vittorio de Sica was born in 1901 in Sora, Italy. He grew up in Naples and
Rome, where he studied accountancy and became interested in theatre. In
1922, he was hired as a bit player in Tatiana Pavlova's troupe and soon
became one of the public's favourite actors. After making his first steps in the
cinema in films directed by Mario Almirante, he became one of the key actors of
the 30s. Many of his key roles were with director Amleto Palermi. Although
adored by the public, Vittorio de Sica decided to pass on the other side of the
camera in 1939 with Rose Scarlatte. This film was followed by a period of
artistic growth which resulted in his first important film, 1944's I bambini ci
guardano. This film was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the
scriptwriter Cesare Zavattini and became the precursor of the neorealist
De Sica approached the post-war years with the deep desire to contribute to
the reconstruction of Italian cinema. During this period, he directed
masterpieces such as I ladri di biciclette, and Miracolo a Milano. Until 1970 with
I giardino dei Finzi Contini, he continued proving his fruitful and diverse talent.
With well over 100 films as an actor and approximately 30 as a director, his
career matched his historical movement, full as it was with the enthusiasm,
unfinished work, and sudden bursts of courage which characterized this
tortured period.

Main Films

1970: Il giardino dei Finzi Contini
1965: Matrimonio all¿Italiana
1962: Boccaccio ¿70
1960: La Ciociara
1954: L¿Oro di Napoli1952: Umberto D.
1951: Miracolo a Milano
1948: Ladri di biciclette
1944: I bambini ci guardano

Miracolo a Milano / Miracle in Milan
Italy, 1951 - 85 min
Screenplay: Vittorio de Sica and Cesare Zavattini, based on his novel Toto il
Starring: Francesco Golisano, Emma Grammatica, Brunella Bovo, Paolo
Summary: Toto is an angelic and naïve orphan who thinks good is everywhere.
With his tramp friends, he sets about to rebuild their shanty town, which
unfortunately shelters an oil well industrialist are interested in. A battle begins
between the beggars and the speculators, but Toto's adoptive mother decides
to help the outcasts.

I Ladri di biciclette / The Bicycle Thief
Italy, 1948 - 100 min
Scenario: Cesare Zavattini and Vittorio de Sica, based on the novel by Luigi
With: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri, Nando
Bruno, Vittorio Antonucci.
Summary: Antonio Ricci, a 40-year-old worker, lives near Rome. Unemployed
for two years, he is offered a job as a billposter. But the day he is hired, the
bicycle he needs to keep his job is stolen. Determined to get it back, he and his
son undertake a pursuit full of tragic and comic incidents. In desperation,
Antonio tries to steal a bicycle, but is arrested by the police.
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