Directed by Vittorio De Sica and released in it’s home country of Italy in 1952.
Umberto D. is essentially a story about a man trying to come up with the money to pay his rent, but by the end of the film it becomes a film about an old man and his dog trying to make the most out of life.
The film is a brilliant character drama with an absolutely fantastic lead performance from Carlo Battisti as the titular character. Coincidentally, this was his first and last film and like quite a few of the other cast members, he was not an established actor at all. Another great performance in the film comes from a young lady named Maria – whom Umberto befriends – she is expecting but isn’t sure of the father.
There are some greatly explored themes of fatherhood and the relationship between man and animal and it touches upon other themes of health and how the general public looks after or doesn’t look after the elderly. The final scenes with Umberto and his dog feature some great single shots including one of Umberto backing away slowly as he’s trying to leave the country but can’t find anyone to take his dog. There’a also another where he attempts to put him in front of a fast moving train but bails at the last minute having a near death encounter himself and then the beautiful final shot of the two of them walking into the distance gleefully playing with each other.
I really felt a connection to the main character here and felt a nice resolution with him at the end of the piece.