Synopsis by Hal Erickson
With so many overblown historical epics coming out of Italy in the pre-World War I era, the simplicity and naturalism Assunta Spina was a welcome relief. Based on the novel and play by Salvatore Di Giacomo, the film tells of a Neopolitan working-class girl whose livelihood and honor is constantly threatened by those more powerful than herself. In addition to playing the title role, Francesca Bertini codirected the film with Gustavo Serena. Bertini was among the most popular of the cinematic divas of the silent era, usually comporting herself in an operatic fashion. In Assunte Spina, however, her performance is down-to-earth and restrained, in much the same manner as the leading ladies of the post-World War II Italian neorealist dramas.
working-class, innocence, silence, survivor