- The Neo-Realist Collection
- (Arrow Films DVD boxed set)
As an introduction to Italian neorealism, The Neo-Realist Collection released in the UK by Arrow Films in 2007 is hard to beat. It contains no less than three Vittorio De Sica classics as well as Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City and Fellini's I Vitelloni.
Rome, Open City
Often credited, along with Visconti's Ossessione, with starting the neorealist movement, Rosellini's 1945 film took to the streets outside the closed Cinecittà Studios to tell the story of a man on the run from the Nazis, and the priest who tries to help him. For more information see our full review of Rome, Open City.
De Sica's beautiful classic regularly features on lists of the best films ever made. Bicycle Thieves uses the simple story of a man and his son searching for a stolen bicycle in order to examine the desperate poverty and subsequent loose morals of the years following the end of World War Two. Read more in our review of Bicycle Thieves.
Miracle in Milan
A charming fable with an edge of social commentary. Miracle in Milan is one of three collaborations between Vittorio De Sica and Cesare Zavattini to feature in this box set. When the orphan Totò goes to live with a group of homeless beggars on the outskirts of Milan, he uses a combination of innocence and magic to help them attempt to defend themselves from a wealthy landowner. See our full review of Miracle in Milan for more details.
One of the final great moments of neorealism, De Sica's Umberto D. is the tale of a pensioner fighting for his dignity against the marginalisation and poverty of the postwar era. After losing his home, he comes to the conclusion that he must end his life. First though, he needs to find a new home for his beloved mongrel, Flike. See also our review of Umberto D.
This early film from Federico Fellini is a semi-autobiographical story about a group of young men growing up in a small coastal town.
Between them, these five films come with a good supply of extras including trailers, documentaries on De Sica and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini and a documentary revisiting the men who played the children in Rome, Open City.