La Pivellina

What would you do if you found a two-year-old sitting in a swing at the local playground, and not a single grown-up in sight? That's what happens to Patty (Patrizia Gerardi), a middle-aged circus performer living in a trailer park on the outskirts of Rome with her goat-trainer husband. Patty takes the little girl back to her trailer and contacts the police, but while feeding her biscuits and milk she discovers a note in the child's pocket from a desperate mother, leading Patty to take in the abandoned toddler. With help from her reticent husband and a neighboring fourteen-year-old boy-himself the child of circus people-a surrogate family slowly forms. Shot with a minimal crew and nonprofessional actors working from a heavily improvised script, La Pivellina is a neorealist drama of great depth of feeling. Gerardi recalls the great Anna Magnani with her down-to-earth demeanor, soulfulness, and curse-laden delivery. As the neighbor who steps in to babysit, Tairo Caroli seems born to the role, his scenes with the little girl rivaling Gerardi's in their emotional resonance. We sense a true bond between these two abandoned children. La Pivellina is a stunningly naturalistic portrait of a society of itinerants who in their makeshift, slipshod way form the same bonds of love and compassion that tie us all together.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.