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La Terra Trema (4 stars): Of the two films, this might be the purest example of neorealism. The entire film takes place on location in an Italian coastal village. The cast is made up of non-professional actors who really seem to be at one with the material. The lengthy film (2 hours and 40 minutes) charts the disintegration of a typical Sicilian fishing clan. When the family gets tired of being taken advantage of by local wholesalers, they embark on a brave plan to work for themselves and take their product direct to market with no middleman.Read more ›
My only major criticism of this picture is that certain scenes move quite slowly -- Perhaps in an effort by Visconti to illuminate the characters and to flesh out the context. But this meandering seems unnecessary and / or tedious -- Especially given the straightforward, simple and linear nature of the story. On the other hand -- The film's sometime slowness is most likely a stylistic component of the "realism" (or neorealism).
In closing -- "Bellissima" works well as a cautionary tale concerning: (1) the perils and pitfalls of show business -- With its inherent hustling, cruelty and dishonesty; (2 the negative consequences of an obsession (in this case, Maddalena's) with the fantasy world of cinema; and (3) the danger inherent in the potential exploitation of child actors. All of this being said -- In the end Maddalena sees through the falsity of it all and cuts her losses -- Hopefully having learned a lesson in the process.
Stephen C. Bird, Author of "Any Resemblance To A Coincidence Is Accidental"
I have always been a fan of Italian neo-realist cinema being of Italian descent myself and this film is one of the best. Unfortunately it has not been released in the United States but I have an all regions DVD player. Overall one of Magnami's best efforts and I am so glad to finally be able to experience it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
'Bellissima' begins with a radio presentation of Donizetti's opera L'elisir d'amore (The... Read more
Visconti is the most emotive and extravagant of the Italian neo-realists.Bellissima an early film has been restored to an amazing print by The Masters of Cinema series. Read morePublished on August 13, 2014 by technoguy
This black and white film complements the intensity of fabulous Anna Magnani. She is dynamic, intense, driven as she pursues a film career for her daughter in Post-War Italy.Published on July 16, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is my favorite film of Visconti, just as Mamma Roma (to my taste) is the best Pasolini's movie. Read morePublished on January 26, 2013 by vs
A fierce and determined stage struck mother (Anna Magnani) enters her daughter (Tina Apicella) in a studio contest looking for a little girl to star in their next movie, even if it... Read morePublished on August 31, 2012 by The CinemaScope Cat
In this 1951 dialogue barrage, Anna Magnani (1908-1973) pushes all out to get her small daughter into films. She tries her husband's patience, and he slaps her a few. Read morePublished on April 28, 2012 by J. Faulk