Little Ancient World (Piccolo Mondo Antico)
September 25, 2011
Directed by Mario Soldati. With Alida Valli, Massimo Serato, Ana Dondini
Italy 1942, 35mm, b/w, 106 min. Italian with English subtitles
Though little-seen in the US since its release during WWII, Italy's equivalent to Gone With the Wind was also inordinately popular, imbued with nostalgia and based on a novel that set a melodramatic romance against a backdrop of major historical events. The events here are those of the Risorgimento, and the love and heartbreak are those of a nobleman and his humbly born beloved. Cut off by his family for marrying below his station, he faces war fighting the Austrians and a different kind of war with a vengeful grandmother and neglected wife. An established writer before turning to film, Soldati constructed Alida Valli's star vehicle and what remains his best known film.