by guest writer
Desiderio (Desire), although filmed in 1946 with Roberto Rossellini in the director’s chair, was launched two years later due to production issues and war related incidents. Marcello Pagliero was called upon to finish the film because of Rossellini’s refusal to be part of it. Mainly a Neo-Realist melodrama focused on social injustice and moral aspirations that can’t be fulfilled, Desiderio is a film that stays with you long after you’ve watched it.
Paola Previtalic (Elli Parvo) is a beautiful young woman forced into a job of entertaining rich men. She suffers a shock when, walking down the street, she sees a woman that committed suicide. This is the turning point of the movie, as everything from this moment on will relate to this incident. She meets a stranger, Giovanni (Carlo Ninchi), an honest man, and falls for him, but she knows that because of her condition the relationship is almost impossible and she sees herself forced to return to her home village and disapproving family. As every Neo-Realist film of that period, Desiderio ( a word that has multiple connotations in the film) is a story statement of a post-war Italy filled with guilt and retaliation.
photo: still from the film; production credits