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Published on Jul 24, 2006
Post-war Rome is the setting for this lyrical and heartbreaking character study of bitterness, loneliness and reconciliation in the months following Italy's liberation by the Allies. On a rainy night in the heart of the city, a cat burglar (Nando Bruno of ROME, OPEN CITY) inadvertently saves the life of a would-be suicide (BLACK SUNDAY's Andrea Checchi), despondent over having been betrayed by his fiancée while fighting in the war. Joining the avuncular thief for a night of misadventure, the young man intervenes in the arrest of an impoverished typist (Valentina Cortese, of Fellini's JULIET OF THE SPIRITS) who has turned to prostitution to pay for her boardinghouse room. Ducking out of the rain into a coffee bar, the strangers share hard luck stories over cognac and encounter a distinguished amnesiac (THE BICYCLE THIEF writer-director Vittorio De Sica), begging to be told who he is. When the new friends find themselves invited to an illegal private casino, old lovers are reunited, old grudges are revived and first love is given a second chance.