Best known in America as The Man Who Made the Film that Was Remade into Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, the neo-realist Vittorio De Sica ranks as one of Europe's finest directors and a sort of anti-Fellini in the Italian oeuvre. The one exception to his roll call of great tragedies is Miracle in Milan (1951), showing tonight in the Books & Books courtyard as part of the shops mini-Italian film festival.
The poor and down-trodden still take center stage, but instead of ending with an unemployed father publicly shamed in front of his son (The Bicycle Thief) or a man getting run over by a train with his dog in his arms (Umberto D), Miracle in Milan ends with just that: a miracle. Somehow, though, De Sica's Marxist hammer still pounds louder than his angels' wings, as if he were using magical realism only to point out what a fantasy the idea of escaping capitalist misery really is. Fortunately, in the beautiful B&B courtyard, with the stars above your head and a fine cup of espresso beneath your nose, you will not be required to contribute to the revolution. The illusion begins at 8:30 at Books & Books.
Sat., March 22, 8:30 p.m., 2008