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The Garden of The Finzi Continis (1970)

4.3 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Internationally acclaimed director Vittorio DeSica's Academy Award(r) -winning classic (Best Foreign Language Film, 1971) is gorgeously restored and remastered in Dolby Stereo. Amid the ravages of WWII, the Finzi-Continis, a cultured Jewish family, languish in aristocratic splendor on their Eden-likeestate in Ferrara, Italy. As the political atmosphere becomes increasingly hostile to its Jewish citizens, the handsome and carefree Finzi-Contini children, Micol (Dominique Sanda) and Alberto (Helmut Berger), turn their well-appointed home into a refuge for their young friends. In an atmosphere ofemotional instability, they play out a series of heartbreaking romantic rituals which spiral into tragedy as Fascism gradually descends upon their world. A simply breathtaking film about a way of life now lost forever.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Fabio Testi, Romolo Valli, Dominique Sanda
  • Directors: Vittorio De Sica
  • Producers: Artur Brauner, Gianni Hecht Lucari
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005BJX7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,175 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Garden of The Finzi Continis (1970)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
In "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1970)--based on the autobiographical novel by Giorgio Bassani--legendary Neorealist filmmaker, Vittorio de Sica, dramatizes the human cost of the "racial laws" gradually implemented against the Jews in Fascist Italy during the years 1938-43. The more Bassani's young middle-class Jewish protagonist feels the brunt of Mussolini's anti-Semitic edicts encroaching upon him, the more he feels drawn to the aristocratic Jewish Finzi-Continis' estate--their Edenic "garden"--and to Micòl, the family's beautiful young daughter. Psychologically, this compulsion seems to stem from a deep emotional attachment to a perpetually innocent, untroubled state of childhood, which both Micòl and her garden seem to represent. Throughout the film, there is a marked conflict between childhood and adulthood, between the distant past and the immediate present, between the act of retreating into a world of comfortable illusions and confronting a world of harsh and bitter realities.
I found this particular aspect of the story very fascinating, although too tantalizingly obscure and open-ended--and thus, not quite as illuminating or fulfilling as it might have been were it more clearly explained. (This could the reason why some people find the film--and its heavily symbolic, impressionistic style--a little confusing and underwhelming.)
For Giorgio--both the naive hero and wisened author of the story--Micòl embodies the mystery and allure of the Finzi-Continis, as well as their insularity and their apparent passivity in the face of the escalating Fascist crackdown.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film, which won an Academy Award for best Foreign Language Picture in 1971, is set in Ferrara, Italy. It begins in 1938 and focuses on the aristocratic jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, in particular, the progeny of that family, Micol (Dominique Sanda) and Alberto (Helmut Berger). These privileged two live in elegant splendor with their family, removed from the harshness of life outside the walls of their lushly beautiful estate, where the fascist regime of Il Duce is beginning its hellish collaboration with Hitler.
The Finzi-Continis family, secular jews at best, shut out the outside world, esconcing themselves amidst the trappings of wealth and privilege, cocooned in their idyllic estate, as if their wealth and position would hold the hostile world at bay. It is as if they believed that the hostility against Italian Jews would not directly touch them. Micol and Alberto even have Aryan good looks. So, what could go wrong?
Their childhood friend, Giorgio, however, is having a different experience. From a middle class, jewish family, he is more in touch with reality and is feeling the impact of virulent anti-semitism, as he finds himself ousted from the university and its library, on the brink of completing his university degree. His brother has left for Switzerland. His father is in denial, thinking that he should not worry about the small things, and that this is all a tempest in a teapot. He is hanging his hat on the premise that he is, after all, an Italian citizen.
As their world begins to crumble all around them, Giorgio tries to kindle a flame between himself and Micol, whom he has loved since childhood, but his love for her remains unrequited.
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Format: DVD
What makes the film so memorable is its almost dreamlike atmosphere. The Finzi-Contini's garden is a many acred forest replete with wooded paths and tennis court where time seems to stand still as in an Italian pastoral painting. The family is wealthy and influential and so though Jewish remains at a comfortable remove from those events effecting most Italian Jews. The children of the Finzi-Continis are the effeminate, withdrawn and sickly Alberto and the beautiful and artistic and tempermental but emotionally cold Micol(Dominique Sanda). Micol seems to intuit the coming events before they happen and that explains why she refuses any intimate connection. Her love from youth is Grigorio but she wants nothing to do with real emotions from which she knows nothing can come. over Grigorio she chooses intimacies that demand nothing from her emotionally. In one particularly poignant scene Grigorio spies her through a window after she has been making love and she aware of his gaze shamelessly refuses to try and hide the fact as if conveying to him their mutual sense of helplessness. Micol knows what is to come but powerless to do anything about it she retreats into herself further and further. The garden is equated with Micol, symbolizing her sense of beauty, love of art, and culture itself. The gardens isolated quiet surrounded by walls merely emphasizes Micols passive nature in the face of events that will devestate everything about life that she values. DeSica keeps the pace of his film a deliberately slow one and rarely shows you the events happening outside the small Finzi-Contini circle except in brief glimpses of newsreel footage seen in movie theatres so that when the final events unfold they are all the more shocking even though they have been expected all along.Read more ›
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