Film Society Selection
Third of three films showing this month
book a ticket for this and forthcoming BFS screenings please contact
the SHP Box Office on 01344 484123 or click the logo below to book via
the SHP website.
Tickets £8.60, SHP members £7.00.
BFS members (BFS shows only) £6.60. You may have to show a BFS membership card. Concessions £7.60. SHP make an additional £0.70 charge when paying by credit card. Reserving a ticket by phone, expect to pay by cash at the box office 30 minutes prior to show time.
26th July 7.30pm
Director: Vittorio de Sica, Italy, 1951, 92 minutes Italian with subtitles
Cast: Francesco Golisano, Brunella Bovo, Emma Gramatica
Open-hearted orphan Toto begins living with a cluster of beggars and transforms their lives. A quintessential work of Italian neo-realism, De Sica's funny fable displays his humanistic ideology through the tale of an orphan granted magical powers.
The film that changed my life: Beeban Kidron
Vittorio De Sica famously made Bicycle Thieves, that's the film of his everybody knows. But Miracle in Milan also Italian-language, also black and white is the one that had the more profound effect on me.
I first saw the film on my father's 50th birthday, when I was in my late teens. He had decided that the way he wanted to celebrate his day was to show me and my siblings, plus about 30 of our friends, Miracle in Milan. This was before the days of DVD and downloads, and so we had to hire a little screening room and projectionist, and we had to rent the film it was quite an arrangement, but this was the thing he wanted to do. Before the lights went out, he turned to us and said something like: "I want to hand you, the next generation, the baton of concern and hope." Then he added: "I hope it's as good as I remember..."
It was, and we were all in tears by the end. In many ways it's a similar film to Slumdog Millionaire. It's about the slums, about poverty and how you do or don't get out of it. But it has this very famous and magical last shot in which two kids fly away on two broomsticks. It was such a terrific encapsulation of a young person's realisation that there is a world beyond the one lived in reality on the one hand, and the possibility of anything on the other. That, for me, is what film is about it can reflect what you know, but also show you what you had never before imagined.
I've never actually asked him, but I always presumed that Steven Spielberg's end shot in E.T. was a homage to the broomstick scene. In my very first film, the little-known Vroom, my lead character, played by Clive Owen, flies off in a pink Cadillac at the end. An idea nicked from De Sica but, I have to say, not improved.
My father is dead now, and so the film is incredibly poignant for me. But I think that his anxiety just before he showed us has been rewarded by the fact that me and my friends, all of us now in middle age, still remember the screening so well.