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Les années difficiles (1948) Online

Les années difficiles (1948) Online
Original Title :
Anni difficili
Genre :
Movie / Drama / War
Year :
Directror :
Luigi Zampa
Cast :
Massimo Girotti,Umberto Spadaro,Ave Ninchi
Writer :
Vitaliano Brancati,Sergio Amidei
Type :
Time :
1h 53min
Rating :
Les années difficiles (1948) Online

Aldo Piscitello, a minor government clerk, is forced in 1934 to join the Fascist party. When the war comes, he finds himself able only to talk ineffectually in secret against Mussolini, even as his own son Giovanni is sent into battle. By the end of the war, Aldo has found the courage to stand up for his beliefs, but by then it is too late.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Massimo Girotti Massimo Girotti - Giovanni
Umberto Spadaro Umberto Spadaro - Aldo Piscitello
Ave Ninchi Ave Ninchi - Rosina Piscitello
Enzo Biliotti Enzo Biliotti - Il podestà
Delia Scala Delia Scala - Elena (as Odette Bedogni)
Ernesto Almirante Ernesto Almirante - Il nonno
Aldo Silvani Aldo Silvani - Il farmacista
Miro Zonda Miro Zonda - Federale
Milly Vitale Milly Vitale - Maria
Giovanni Grasso Giovanni Grasso - L'avvocato Mascali
Olinto Cristina Olinto Cristina - Sacchi
Agostino Salvietti Agostino Salvietti - Fegarotta
Rainero De Cenzo Rainero De Cenzo - Dottor Rapisarda
Carlo Sposito Carlo Sposito - Riccardo (as Carletto Sposito)
Giuseppe Nicolosi Giuseppe Nicolosi - Cascarà

User reviews



In a time when the revision of the recent past produce more innocuous works as Sotto Il Sole di Roma by Renato Castellani, Zampa directed this bitter and lucid parable focus on people that, like the main character, have been to maintain the difficult equilibrium between public and private interests in an authoritarian society. What seems at begin a light chronicle marked by a nostalgic and precocious maudlin feeling, like the one present in Castellani's movie, quickly becomes a narrative politically audacious, something relatively rare on neo-realist films, and with a notorious relative absence of Manichaeism. The movie shows, for example, how opportunistic were most of the old fascists, now very close friend of Americans after the bankruptcy of Fascism. But the same isn't so different for the shy resistance old guys that usually meets clandestinely at the pharmacy. The owner of the same (Aldo Silvani) was murdered by the fascist after an emotional explosion between a Mussolini's rally. His prison and death, however, were far from our eyes and far of the grandiose and heroic tone showed in films like the classic "Roma, Cittá Apertá" (1945). The Sympathy with the American soldiers wasn't shared by the own film and even in the fictional world it seems much more a fruit of opportunism than sincere. Filmed in a conventional way, this movie make an interesting use of archive images between fictional ones, something very common nowadays but probably an original strategy then. The narrative is framed not only by a voice over throughout the film, far from being excessive intrusive, but by newspaper headlines, radio comments and even one of the hundreds of propaganda short movies produced by LUCE, the educative fascist institution. At least one moment archive images weren't inserted in diegesis but an obvious comment of the own narrator that helps to illustrate the time passing. Perhaps one of the most important elements of the film is to be vehicle for many things repressed all those years of fascism on Italian society (and its movies of course), showing a human face under the appearances. This is particularly true for the moment of Giovanni (Massimo Girotti) reclaiming about the excessive times he heard or say "Signor Si", a kind of military subordination salute very popular those days, at the Army, and equally very present on war films of that time directed by names as Roberto Rossellini, Alessandro Blasetti or Augusto Genina. This movie anticipates in an important way, the political satire vein that would be very disseminated not only in Italian cinema of the next decades.


Anni Difficili is a very funny comedy about Fascism. The difficult years from 1934 to the end of WW2, are seen through the eyes of Aldo Piscitello, father of four and local government employee, played with a bewildered, hang-dog humanity by Umberto Spadaro. Piscitello has somehow failed to join the Fascist Party and if he wants to keep his job he's going to have to do something about that. The anti-logic of his corrupt superiors demands it. He's not keen, but his Leftist friends at the pharmacist can offer no useful advice, so reluctantly he joins up and unenthusiastically puts on the ridiculously saggy uniform and carries out his new duties as a member of the Fascist Party – mostly involving marching. So begins a series of moral compromises viewed against a background of escalating militarism and war.

Piscitello's son Giovanni (played by the awesomely chiselled Massimo Girotti) returns from military service to find his father in his new uniform. All Giovani wants to do is get out of uniform, marry the pharmacist's daughter and set up home, but he is soon called up for the invasion of Abyssinia and then goes from battlefront to battlefront for the remainder of these difficult years. As time goes by Piscitello sees that his moral compromises are keeping his son at war and away from his wife and child. Wouldn't it be better to protest against Fascism and go to prison if necessary he asks the Leftists at the pharmacy? But, they are hopelessly divided and fearful, and spend their time listening to Radio London and revelling in Italian military defeats. It's not easy to go against the grain however. The whole community gathers to cheer the speeches of Mussolini, Piscitello's wife is thankful the trains run on time, his daughter is enthusiastically teaching Fascist ideology in school, and the twin sons have joined a Fascist youth organisation.

To begin with all this is viewed with an amused irony by Zampa and his screenwriter, the novelist Brancati, but as the film proceeds, and Italy staggers from crisis to crisis, the humour becomes increasingly dark and bitter. Zampa and Brancati are determined that Italy faces up to its recent past. All society is culpable and is subjected to their withering comic gaze. Giovanni and his wife, Maria, remain curiously untainted by Fascism, albeit increasingly worn down and traumatised by war and separation. Girotti in particular is a taut and pale centre of gravity, his increasingly tragic presence a counter-point to the humour. There are no laughs at Giovanni and Maria's expense.

Anni Difficili was released in 1948 and must have been uncomfortable viewing for audiences of the time. It's a powerful film today, a perfectly judged mix of fun, satirical ire and loss.