Miracle in Milan (1951)

Article #886 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-18-2003
Posting Date: 1-15-2004
Directed by Vittorio de Sica
Featuring Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa, Emma Gramatica

An orphan has a magical effect on the lives of the homeless people in Milan.

The first scene in this movie has an old lady finding a baby in her cabbage patch. The next scene takes place several years later, when the old lady returns home to her son to find that the milk has boiled over on the stove and left a trail of milk on the floor; rather than cleaning it up, she gleefully sets up toy houses and trees around the spill to make it look like a river running through a village. It was at this point in the proceedings that I knew I was watching something special, and this brilliant, quirky, surreal comic fantasy is truly unique. Though there is a sense of magic in the proceedings, it doesn’t really go into sheer fantasy until the last half hour of the movie, but I think it best to leave that as a surprise to the viewer. What is truly amazing is how the movie remains thoroughly joyful throughout, even when a certain darkness creeps in around the edges, and there are times when you fear the movie will take the dark, sad turn into cynicism; after all, Vittorio de Sica is one of the pioneers of Italian realism, and his THE BICYCLE THIEF is a movie with very little joy in it. Most of all, though, I’m grateful for this movie giving me some of the best laughs I’ve had in months of watching these movies.

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