Vittorio De Sica’s Shoeshine is a film which is every bit as significant because of the history behind it as it is simply because it is a great film. This was not only a pioneering film in Italian neorealist cinema, it was also a groundbreaking portrayal of post-WWII
. Along with a touching bit of realist narrative, audiences were given the chance to see what Italy’s streets and economy really looked like, half-destroyed buildings included. Italy
The narrative follows the lives of two boys shining shoes of American soldiers, who they all assume are named Joe. When Giuseppe and Pasquale are unwittingly pulled into a robbery, they discover how much harsher their lives can get. They are sent to a juvenile detention center and separated from each other. This separation leads to a series of misunderstandings, and much of the rest of the film is a prison narrative with the two friends on opposing sides. There is even an escape plan executed.
This is a marvelously entertaining and historically significant piece of film history, and a must for any true collector. The DVD also includes an audio commentary by author Bert Cardullo, along with a trailer.