Saturday, 8 November 2008


by Giuseppe de Santis

Date: Sunday 23 November, 2008
Time: 6 PM, film at 6.30 PM sharp!

Location: Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street - off Walworth Rd - Elephant and Castle SE17

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Bitter Rice is a classic of Italian neorealist cinema. Made in 1949, it is set amongst the mondine, the women rice pickers that every year migrated to the Po Valley from the rest of Italy to work in the rice paddies. Touching upon themes of work, struggle and the changing nature of resistance in post-war Italy, it is also a film rich in melodrama and love intrigue.

"Bitter Rice seems the closest that Italian popular culture of the immediate postwar years gets to making a film about class rather than national unity, about struggling against your class enemy rather than the foreign Nazi. What makes Bitter Rice different is the suggestion that Italy's future will not depend on providence alone but on a class based political struggle to be carried out in the present, within Italian society, against the land owning bosses. In other words, the national war must be followed and completed by the class war. Althought the military struggle is over, another much more domestic struggle remains against the enemy within. It is not fought by the military this time, but by the emerging proletarian masses. In fact, once the soldiers vacate the barracks house, their military function now complete, the rice pickers immediately occupy their place."
(from "Antifascism - cultural politics in italy 1943-46" by D. Ward)

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