The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

The story of a group of Italian friends in a small northern town during the late 1930s and start of the Second World War. Some of the group are Jewish, some are not. The Finzi-Continis consist of two siblings, Alberto and Micol – a much sought after beautiful Jewish girl and her brother begin to host tennis matches for their group of friends after the state ban Jews tennis clubs.

Giorgio, a childhood friend of the Finzi-Contini and a gentile, seeks the affections of Micol during the turbulent times of an emerging fascistic Italian regime. A wonderful and difficult account of the treatment of Jewish people during the Second World War well told by Vittorio de Sica – one of my favourite Italian directors for realism. The film feels more like a documentary of a town with a line drawn down the middle of it, than a movie. It is very interesting in showing how WWII affects both the individuals in the story and the town/bigger picture as a whole.

I don’t want to spoil anything within the film, although I’m sure you know how WWII ends. I will say I was surprised by how well such a eventful book could be compacted into 94 minutes and so well. This is definitely one of the best Italian films I have seen.

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