The Children Are Watching Us ★★★★½

The first Italian Neorealism movie for many, the second Italian Neorealism for others, none of the above for me, I Bambini ci Guardano demonstrates De Sica's heartbreaking faith on humanity through the eyes of a child witnessing unfortunate adult decisions.

With one of the best child performances you will ever get to see in cinema thanks to De Sica's guidance and Luciano De Ambrosis authenticity in his delivery of both energic and dramatic emotions (his performance was truly rounded), De Sica's scope displays not only a big world seen through the innocent eyes of a small boy, but also portrays a whole town. Every single frame is full of people, alive, talking, playing, swimming, eating, laughing, complaining, worrying and celebrating. Granted, Italian films from all eras have that lovable peculiarity, but considering the historical importance of this underseen precursor of Neorealism, this was a stepping stone for De Sica to fully develop his Neorealist perspective in celluloid and subsequently capture the postwar hopes and plights of a nation. Also, considering that the genre would include fundamental child roles, this was more than a prototype: it was a delicious and excellently composed melodrama with the finest of old Hollywood traditions and an unconventional closure that really sends a direct message right to the spine.

The title does not only refer to the key scene in the film: it refers to the fact that children are not stupid. They need guide and love, but cannot be manipulated in many things, including their feelings.