La Ciociara
by Vittorio De Sica


Italy - December 22, 1960 - La Ciociara - 100'
USA (New York City, Sutton Theater) - May 8, 1961 - Two Women - 105'
France (Paris) - May 17, 1961 - La Ciociara -
West Germany - October 20, 1961 - ...Und Dennoch Leben sie - 100'
Spain - May 14, 1962 - Dos mujeres - 95'
(attendance: 211,795)
Belgium (Madrid) - 1962 - La Ciociara / La paysane aux pieds nus / De Vluchtelingen

Italian poster Belgian poster American poster German poster


Italy, 1943. To escape the bombings, Cesira, a young widow, leaves her grocery shop and her house in Rome to seek refuge with her thirteen year old daughter Rosetta in the mountains of Ciociaria, where she was born. Friends and relatives welcome the two women and for a brief time they seem to have found peace. Cesira meets Michele, a shy, well-read country man whom she becomes very fond of. Unfortunately several Germans, seeking escape from the pursuit of the AngloAmerican troops, force Michele to act as their guide across the mountains, and then kill him. When the Allied troops arrive, Cesira and her daughter decide to make their way back home on foot. Having stopped to rest in a damaged church, theyare assaulted and raped bya group of Moroccan soldiers. More than for herself, Cesira’s desperate grief is for her young daughter who withdraws into a deadly silence, which will only be shaken by the sad news of Michele’s death. (Masi/Lancia)
Story: novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia.


Itri, Vallecorse area, gulf of Gaeta border (Italy)
Cinecittà, Rome (Italy)
August through September 1960


Sophia Loren (Cesira)
Eleonora Brown (Rosetta)
Jean-Paul Belmondo (Michele)
Raf Vallone (Giovanni)
Renato Salvatori (Florindo)
Carlo Ninchi (Filippo)


Cesare Zavattini
Set design and costume design:
Elio Costanzi
Armando Trovajoli
Makeup Artist:
Giuseppe Annunziata
Still photographer:
Pierluigi Praturlon, Vittoriano Rastelli
Carlo Ponti for Champion c.c. (Rome)
Les Films Marceau Cocinor, Societé Générale de Cinématographie (Paris)


First Italian film in 6 years since La fortuna di essere donna.

Sophia dubs her own voice in English (New York, Titra Sound Studio, May-June 1961) and in French (France, April 1961). German version is dubbed by Marion Degler.

The role of Cesira had been intended for Anna Magnani, with Loren as her daughter. Magnani turned down the part because she felt that, at fifty-three, she was too young to portray Loren's mother; she challenged De Sica to cast Loren as the mother instead. De Sica did so, despite his reservations that Sophia was, at twenty-five, too young.

Sophia is reported to have fainted three times during the shooting of the film because of possible pregnancy.


"Before I made Two Women I was a performer. Afterward, I was an actress."
Sophia Loren

"Though I taught her, directed every move, when the tears came and the anguish in the film, it was her heart, her soul,
her own experience that she was drawing on. And when I saw it, I realized that she had come back to Italy.
She had come back to me with this vital desire to re-express herself in her own language
. "
Vittorio De Sica

... the beauty of Miss Loren's performance is in her illumination of a passionate mother role. She is happy, expansive, lusty in the early phases of the film,
in tune with the gusto of the peasant,, gentle with her child. But when disaster strikes, she is grave and profound.
When she weeps for the innocence of her daughter, one quietly weeps with her.
Bosley Crowther, New York Times. 9 may 1961

"Mama Mia! Loren deservedly won a Best Actress Oscar--the first to a non-American actress in a foreign-language film--for this Vittorio De Sica film, adapted by screenwriter Cesare Zavattini from an Alberto Moravia novel. It's not a great De Sica-Zavattini collaboration; much of the movie suffers from poor pacing and listlessness, but Loren is a marvel to behold."
TV Guide

"La Ciociara is Sophia's film. The drama becomes substance, flesh and blood like Moravia's positive character, precisely in the woman
from Ciociaria and in the portrayal tha t Loren give of her".
Ugo Casiraghi, L'Unità, 24 dec 1960

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
© Excelsior Communication - 2007

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