|Directed by||Vittorio De Sica|
|Produced by||Carlo Ponti|
|Written by||Vittorio De Sica
Alberto Moravia (novel)
|Running time||100 minutes|
Film Company: Metro-Goldwyn-MayerDistributor: Joseph E Levine Production
Two Women (Italian: La ciociara, roughly translated as "[The Woman] from Ciociaria") is a 1960 Italian film directed by Vittorio De Sica. It tells the story of a woman trying to protect her young daughter from the horrors of war. The film stars Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Eleonora Brown, Carlo Ninchi and Andrea Checchi. The film was adapted by De Sica and Cesare Zavattini from the novel of the same name written by Alberto Moravia. The story is fictional, but based on actual events during what the Italians call Marocchinate .
The story centers on Cesira (Loren), a widowed Roman shopkeeper, and Rosetta (Brown), her devoutly religious twelve-year-old daughter, during World War II. To escape the Allied bombing of Rome, Cesira and her daughter flee southern Lazio for her native Ciociaria, a rural, mountainous province of central Italy.
After they arrive at Ciociaria, Cesira attracts the attention of a young local intellectual with communist sympathies named Michele (Jean-Paul Belmondo). Rosetta sees Michele as a father figure and develops a strong bond with him. However, Michele is eventually taken prisoner by a company of German soldiers, who hope to use him as a guide to the mountainous terrain.
Cesira decides to return to Rome once the Allied troops end German occupation. On the way home, Cesira and Rosetta are gang-raped inside a church by a group of Goumier -- Moroccan soldiers of the French Army. Rosetta is traumatized, becoming detached and distant from her mother and no longer an innocent child. When the two manage to find shelter at a neighbouring village, Rosetta disappears during the night, sending Cesira into a panic. She thinks Rosetta has gone to look for Michele, but later finds out that Michele was killed by the same soldiers. Rosetta returns, having been out dancing with an older boy, who has given her silk stockings, despite her youth.
Cesira is outraged and upset, slapping Rosetta for her behavior, but Rosetta remains unresponsive, emotionally distant. When, however, Cesira informs Rosetta of Michele's death, Rosetta begins to cry like the little girl she had been prior to the rape. With her mother comforting the child, De Sica zooms out to end the film.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Sophia Loren, due largely to heavy promotion by its North American distributor, Joseph E. Levine. This was the first time an acting Oscar had been given for a non-English-speaking performance. Loren also won the award for Best Actress at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival. Loren won 22 international awards for Two Women.
La Ciociara was remade for television in 1988. It was adapted by Diana Gould, Lidia Ravera, Dino Risi and Bernardino Zapponi. It was directed by Risi and starred Loren, Robert Loggia, Leonardo Ferrantini, Dario Ghirardi and Sydney Penny.
San Francisco Opera has commissioned of an operatic treatment of Moravia's novel, with music and libretto by Italian composer Marco Tutino and additional contributions to the libretto by Luca Rossi. Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci headlines the cast as Cesira, with American artists soprano Sarah Shafer as Rosetta, tenor Stephen Costello as Michele, and baritone Mark Delavan as Giovanni. The opera receives its world premiere on June 13, 2015.
- "Festival de Cannes: Two Women". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- San Francisco Chronicle on San Francisco Opera 2014-15 Season
- La Ciociara web page on San Francisco Opera website
- Two Women at the Internet Movie Database
- Two Women is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]