ZSR Library is fortunate to have a personal collection from influential but lesser known Italian director, Giuseppe De Santis. De Santis worked with a number of well-known actors and actresses including Peter Falk, Yves Montand, Claudia Cardinale, Silvana Mongano and Marcello Mastroianni.
The Giuseppe De Santis Papers are housed in the Department of Special Collections and Archives and a finding aid is available online, including an inventory of the director’s film stills, screenplays, manuscripts, and research. Photographs from the collection highlighting actors, production, and sets are digitized and online as part of the Giuseppe De Santis Film Stills Collection.
Giuseppe De Santis was born in February 1917 in Fondi, Italy. He was a founder of Neorealist film movement along with Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, and Vittorio De Sica. De Santis directed films that tried to show the need for social reform. He attended the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, a film school started by Mussolini, in 1935. De Santis was a film critic for Cinema in 1942 where he wrote a column called “Film de questi giorni” (Today’s Films).
Much of De Santis’ film work focused on the life of the Italian peasant. He also dealt with the difficulties Italian women faced with dealing with a changing culture which still held old prejudices and stereotypes. De Santis’ films dealt with adventure and well-defined social contrasts, often showing good vs. evil characters.
Giuseppe De Santis died in Rome in May, 1997 and the country declared a national day of mourning.
Giuseppe De Santis – Filmography as Director
- 1942: La gatta (The cat)
- 1947: Caggia tragic (Tragic pursuit); received the Prize of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for the best Italian film at the 1947 Venice Film Festival
- 1948: Riso amaro (Bitter rice); nominated for an Oscar for best original story for 1950
- 1949: Non c’e pace tra gli ulivi (No peace under the olives)
- 1952: Roma, ore 11 (Rome, 11 o’clock)
- 1953: Un marito per Anna Zaccheo (A husband for Anna Zaccheo)
- 1953: Giorni d’amore (Days of love)
- 1955: Uomini e lupi (Men and wolves)
- 1958: La strada lunga un anno (The one-year-long road); won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film of 1958
- 1960: La garconniere (The love-nest)
- 1964: Italiani brava gente (Attack or retreat)
- 1972: Un apprezzato professionista di sicuro avvenire (An esteemed professional with a secure future)