The Avenue of Dreams
Director:  Dino Risi
Year:  1953
Rating: 6.0

Country: Italy

Aka - Il viale della speranza

A delightful if slight comedy of three women trying to make it as actresses in the famous Italian film studio, Cinecitta in Rome. The studio was founded by none other than Benito Mussolini to revive the Italian film industry  - was bombed by the allies - but after the war it became the hub of Italian cinema for decades and the location for many Hollywood films shot in Italy as well. It is massive in size.  This film is directed by Dino Risi, who became a very popular comedy director in the 1960s, and the cinematographer went on to some fame as well - Mario Bava. The look of the film is actually quite wonderful - black and white with such a classical style and some lovely close-ups.

The film has some wonderful comic scenes and a great party scene - but underneath it all is the quiet desperation of actors trying to find work - trying to ingratiate themselves with the right people -  actors trying to break in and those trying to stay in. And the disappointments that come with those aspirations.  A small part will do - just something to get started. Few succeed. Most fail and go back to their hometown. The chiseled faced Luisa (Cosetta Greco), the sultry Franca (Piera Simoni) and the good natured Guiditta (Liliana Bonfatti) are all trying to break in. They all live at a pensione for actors (right across from the Roman Colosseum) and sometimes support one another, sometimes are filled with envy. None of these actresses went on to much fame - surprising as Greco and Simoni both have great bone structure and are a joy to watch but the boyfriend of Luisa sure did - Marcello Mastroianni. The film follows all three in their struggles to just get a chance - but breaks don't come easy.