Saturday, June 28, 2008

Terriers in Movies 1: Flike

Umberto D (1962, Italy, dir. Vittorio De Sica) is nauseatingly sad, but it offers my favorite answer to Marcel Camus's central philosophical question:
Why not kill yourself?

[Spoiler alert, but I don't think you should watch this movie anyway, it's too painful, despite its "happy" ending.]

The old man Umberto D. has lost everything in a series of humiliating events, so at the end of the movie he decides to kill himself and his little dog, Flike, by stepping onto train tracks as a train approaches.

Flike is having none of it, however, being a terrier and therefore not worried about maintaining dignity and whatnot. He squirms out of Umberto's arms and runs into a park, followed by Umberto, who loves him.

Flike is suspicious at first, but Umberto wins his dog's forgiveness by throwing a pine cone like a ball for him.
The movie ends with Umberto playing with Flike.
And that's how a terrier answers central existential questions.

3 comments:

bink said...

EVen though this movie is SAD (forget Umberto's troubles--the scene at the pound is almost unbearable) and I have an extremely low tolerance for any sad dog movie (I get weepy for days if cartoon dogs get their feelings hurt)--I still would recommend this movie. The ending is so worthwhile...and the rest of the movie does lead up to it convincingly.

barrett said...

Like Bink I also have a terrible time with any dog, or any animal for that matter, film of sadness, struggle, or (perish the thought) death. When my three children were little the movie "Born Free" was played on the telly. I felt I should also watch in case they got upset. All three of them watched steely-eyed as I collapsed in a flood of uncontrollable tears. "Mommy," said my youngest, "go upstairs, I can't hear. . ."

I don't think I will watch this film.

fresca said...

I still haven't recovered from "Old Yeller."