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Little Girl ("La Pivellina")

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

{OFFICIAL AUSTRIAN ENTRY ~ Academy Awards ~ Best Foreign Language Film}
{WINNER ~ Best European Film, Director's Fortnight ~ 2009 Cannes Film Festival}
{OFFICIAL SELECTION ~ 2010 Berlin Film Festival}
{WINNER ~ Audience Award, 2011 Libertas Film Festival Dubrovnik}

Bathed in the neorealist tradition of Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica, Little Girl ("La Pivellina") is a captivating tale of people at the margins of society who open their hearts to a stranger.

In a run-down park on the outskirts of Rome, a two year-old girl is discovered and taken in by a family of hard-luck circus performers. A note in the child's pocket from a desperate mother reveals little about who she is or why she was left. As the bond grows between the girl and her surrogate family, this naturalistic drama becomes a revealing and soulful portrait of courage and discrimination, and of loss and togetherness.

Review

A gem... melts viewers' hearts. --Hollywood Reporter

Captivating! --The New York Times

Neorealistic Magic! Fellini meets Dardenne. A genuinely sweet tribute to motherhood, Italian style. --Time Out NY

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Patrizia Gerardi, Asia Crippa, Tairo Caroli, Walter Saabel
  • Directors: Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005LVV9Y4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,361 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 14, 2012
Format: DVD
I won't bury the lead. Nothing happens in "Little Girl." That's as simple as I can put it. So if you need a big plot, you will undoubtedly hate this movie. For me, however, I was absolutely captivated by this quiet slice-of-life drama that has no big purpose other than to show natural characters interacting in their environment. This Italian and Austrian co-production employs all the tenets that made the Italian neorealism movement so memorable. The cast is populated with non-professional actors, the setting is a world of economic hardship, and the interactions are truthful and seemingly improvisational. This truly is, for want of a better word, as real as real can be. But "Little Girl," despite what might have been an unsavory topic, has more charm and lightness than you have any reason to anticipate. Honestly, I loved it although I realize it may not be for everyone in an era where movies have gotten bigger and more in-your-face.

One day, as a woman (Patrizia Gerardi) searches for her dog in the park, she comes upon a little girl left alone. When she isn't able to find the child's mother, she takes her home to a local trailer park populated by struggling circus performers. A note from the mother is discovered saying that she will soon return, so Gerardi decides to watch the girl and not involve the police. Over the remainder of the film, we see Gerardi bond with the little girl (Asia Crippa) and how several other prominent members of the neighborhood form a new family unit of caregivers to the child. A grizzled Uncle (Walter Saabel) and a teenager (Tairo Caroli) round out the principle core, but everyone comes to accept the new addition to the community.
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Format: DVD
The title of this review could well be the daily headline in Italy where there is an ongoing and ignored crisis of parents abandoning their toddlers to the streets on a regular basis. Director Rainer Frimmel and writer/director Tizza Covi wanted to bring the attention of the world to the crisis of Italy's abandoned toddlers. They chose to tell this story through the use of real street gypsies with the aide of a couple of professional actors in the lead roles. The gypsy class of Italy are people who live on the edge of abject poverty and destitution, abandoned themselves by the society in which they struggle to stay alive.

A gypsy women, Patti, played by professional actress Patrizia Gerardi, finds La Pivellina, an abandoned toddler, in a swing one late afternoon as she searches for her dog in a park near the gypsy encampment where she lives in a small trailer with her husband and a band of street performing circus gypsies. The swing is still moving when she finds her suggesting that the mother has just left her baby when she spots someone she hopes might take her in.

The baby will tear your heart out. She is absolutely trusting, achingly sweet. You want to die with tenderness and fear for her. The toddler, Asia Crippa, embodies goodness and innocence and beauty.

In the end, the anonymous mother of La Pivellina leaves a note in Patti's rusted mailbox promising she will come reclaim her baby in a couple of days. So the gypsies, who have done their best to care for and truly love this little baby girl, throw the toddler a going away party. But in the end, the mother never shows up, and Patti is left sitting in the dying sunset with La Pivellina asleep in her arms.
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Format: DVD
"La Pivellina" is a truly charming movie with, unfortunately, a non-ending. A story needs to conclude with an ending or validation of some sort to confirm for the audience that the time they spent was worthwhile. This movie doesn't do that, but it's actually worth watching despite that failure.
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Italian neo-realism is a term that describes an Italian national cinematic movement that is characterized by stories set amongst the poor and working class, filmed on location and frequently using nonprofessional actors. The queen of this type of Italian cinema in its heyday (post-WWII and well into the fifties) was the great Italian actress Anna Magnani, whose abilities were described as “volcanic” among many other superlatives.

LITTLE GIRL (LA PIVELLINA in Italian) evokes not only the semi-documentary style of Italian neo-realism cinema, and the best of its directors, Vittorio de Sica and Roberto Rossellini, it features a central performance by Patrizia Gerardi that is reminiscent of the great Magnani herself. What more could one ask for?

According to DVD extras, the abandonment of children in Italy is a common occurrence. The film-making team of Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel decided to use this tragic truth as the starting point of LITTLE GIRL. An abandoned two-year-old girl name Asia (played with remarkable precociousness by Asia Crippa–it doesn’t get any more natural than this, folks), is rescued by a family of small-time circus performers, themselves outsiders to mainstream society. The filmmakers found a real-life family of circus performers and constructed scenarios around which each scene in the film was played. A scripted beginning and end to each sequence was elaborated upon with improvisation that is so believable and intimate that it humiliates a lot of professional actors who attempt the same (I’m thinking about you, everyone involved with “Blue Valentine”).
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