Umberto D

October 21st, 2011

Okay so this post is going to cover a few themes/concepts I found interesting in this film!

First I want to start with the concept of boundaries and privacy or lack thereof.  This idea of having no privacy or boundaries is expressed strongly in every scene that takes place in the apartment building.  Umberto clearly has no lock on his door which is evident due to the fact that his land lady uses his flat when he is gone for the secret sexual escapades of her vile friends.  Also, the walls of this building are so thin that when the land lady is singing from down the hall behind a closed door her voice still pierces the ears of Umberto as he is trying to rest.  The greatest example of the lack of boundaries to me was when Umberto arrives at his flat to see the entire place ripped apart by construction workers.  There were holes in the walls, wallpaper falling everywhere, his bed covered in debris.  This was the ultimate slap in the face.  All he had was in that flat, everything that made him who he was and it was now gone, destroyed.  There was nothing left of himself in the place he had lived.  All privacy had been stripped from his life and there were no longer any boundaries. The holes in the walls represent the holes in his life.


Another concept I found fascinating was friendship.  Today I believe we throw the word friend around too quickly.  One might say “Oh thats a friend of mine from school” but in reality you know that you would never call them to hang out outside of class nor would you call them if you were in need of someone to talk to on a rough day.  I believe this film is a reminder of what true friendship is.  Umberto’s relationship with his dog is not exactly what one would call a “friendship” but its so very close.  Flike is Umberto’s closest companion.  This dog would never leave him and is always there to cheer him up if he is having a bad day or stand on the street and beg for money when Umberto is too ashamed to do it himself.  Loyalty, dedication, selflessness, compassion.  These are all characteristics I look for in a true friend or companion and I just find it so sad that the world is so cruel to Umberto in this film that the only place he can find these qualities are within his dog.  What does this say of the world he is living in? This leads me to my last point.

I wanted to also discuss the idea of the blatant dismissal of the elderly.  I was so confused by how terrible society was treating this old man.  His land lady who Umberto even implies was like a daughter to him at one point could care less if he has anywhere to live.  Employees at local restaurants give him dirty looks and terrible attitudes and dismiss him as a crazy old man.  It just made me realize that I see that happen every day.  Someone is always yelling about how irritating old people are or how when their family members are old enough they are going to send them away to a home.  Its again just very sad to see such a realistic portrayal of the life of an elderly character struggling to make ends meet.

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2 Responses to “Umberto D”

  1. Amy Herzog on October 29, 2011 3:56 am

    Chiming in late, but I really like the way you’ve isolated these key themes– very observant!

  2. Alexis Futoran on October 29, 2011 6:54 pm

    Thank you professor!

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