Italy | 90 min.
black & white
New progressive transfer from a brand-new Italian restoration
Full length exclusive audio commentary by Bert Cardullo (author of Vittorio De Sica: Director, Actor, Screenwriter)
New and improved optional English subtitles
Through Children’s Eyes – documentary with Manuel De Sica, Carlo Lizzani, Orio Caldiron, Italo Moscati, & Franco Interlenghi
Ragazzi (The Boys) – interview with Giamiero Brunetta
24-page booklet featuring the writing of Vittorio De Sica, James Agee, Pauline Kael, and Bert Cardullo
Vittorio De Sica, 1946
Directed by Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, Umberto D), Shoeshine was filmed on location in postwar Rome using non-professional actors. It was inspired by the real stories of those struggling to overcome the oppressive forces of a corrupt and ineffective political system.
De Sica’s film depicts the troubled lives of two young boys caught up in the chaos of a world plagued by poverty and unemployment. Giuseppe (Rinaldo Smordoni) and Pasquale (Franco Interlenghi) work on the street, where they shine the shoes of American troops. They dream of a better life, seeking solace in a horse that they ride to escape their harsh reality. When the boys are implicated in a petty crime, they are punished by the society that has robbed them of their innocence, resulting in tragic consequences.
Shoeshine is widely regarded as one of the finest films to have emerged from the Italian neorealist cinema. It was also the first foreign film to receive an Oscar. “The high quality of this motion picture,” noted the Academy, “brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity.” On the film’s 60th anniversary, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Shoeshine for the first time on DVD in the UK.
by Bert Cardullo, 2006