The garden of the Finzi-Contini (film)

The garden of the Finzi-Contini ( Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini ) is an Italian filmof the year 1970 based on the homonymous novel of Giorgio Bassani ,

The film, which was directed by Vittorio de Sica and featured a performance of Lino Capolicchio , Dominique Sanda and Helmut Berger , was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival 1971, 1 the David of Donatello Award for Best Film The same year and the Oscar for the best non-English film in 1972, having also been an Oscar nominee for the best screenplay adapted . 2

The film follows quite faithfully the plot of the central chapters of the original novel, largely disregarding the first part, centered on the children of the protagonists, and completely the prologue and epilogue, which develop fourteen years after The main facts. The film script focuses on the years of World War II , taking advantage of the storyline of a frustrated youthful love to signal the climate of passivity and submission with which the affluent Jewish families of Italy faced fascism and growing racial persecution in the As long as they were linked to the liberal-conservative values ​​of the pre-fascist era and aware of their class privileges, they simply could not believe that they would be persecuted in their own country for the sole reason of a different creed or racial origin.

The Finzi-Contini garden was Dominique Sanda’s first stellar appearance in Italy and one of Helmut Berger’s earliest roles in a feature film after his debut with Visconti in The Fall of the Gods . Both actors had to be dubbed to Italian by actors of this nationality.


The Finzi-Contini family, intellectual and refined, is also one of the richest and most aristocratic of the Jewish community of Ferrara . They live withdrawn in a luxurious mansion, surrounded by an immense garden. From 1938, when the fascist racial laws prohibit the access of “non-Aryans” to the city’s sports clubs, Alberto and Micòl, the family’s twenty-somethings, invite them to play tennis in their Home to other less wealthy young Jews. Among them is Giorgio, who was a childhood friend of Micòl and who falls madly in love with her, which in turn seems ready to enter into a relationship. However, Giorgio misses the opportunity to declare himself and Micòl abruptly marches to Venice to finish his undergraduate thesis. Upon his return, when Giorgio finally confesses his love, Micòl rejects him, without revealing the true motive: that in the meantime he has begun a relationship with Giampiero Malnate, a young communist, a friend of his brother Alberto and also of Giorgio (in the novel Relationship is only suggested, or rather suspected by the protagonist). When he discovers the truth, Giorgio feels doubly betrayed: in his friendship and in his love.

All this relatively ordinary triangular episode is involved in the dramatic historical vicissitudes. Racial persecution will become more and more oppressive as World War II advances. All the young Jews who frequented the garden of the Finzi-Contini will be arrested in 1943, except Giampiero Malnate, who died in the Russian campaign, and Alberto Finzi-Contini himself, who died of illness and was buried in the ostentatious family pantheon. The tragic epilogue to the deportation of Micòl and the entire Finzi-Contini family ends up bringing down their illusions of isolation and for leveling their class differences with the rest of the Jewish community in the city by subjecting them all to the common destiny of the Death in a concentration camp in Germany. When the Jews are taken to a school near the Castle of the East as a pre-deportation stage, Micòl and his grandmother, separated from the rest of the family, meet with Giorgio’s father, who takes care of them and communicates them His hope that his son and the rest of his family could have fled abroad. The screen then shows retrospective images of the happy days of tennis matches and the now empty track, accompanied in the soundtrack of notes of a Jewish funeral lament.


  • Lino Capolicchio (born 1943): Giorgio
  • Dominique Sanda : Micòl
  • Helmut Berger : Alberto
  • Fabio Testi : Giampiero Malnate
  • Romolo Valli: Father of Giorgio
  • Barbara Leonard Pilavin: Mother of Giorgio
  • Camillo Cesarei: Prof. Ermanno Finzi-Contini, father of Micòl
  • Inna Alexeievna: Micòl’s grandmother
  • Katina Morisani: Olga Finzi-Contini, mother of Micòl
  • Ettore Geri: Perotti, butler of the Finzi-Contini


  • This work contains a translation derived from Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (film) from Wikipedia in Italian, specifically from this version , published by its editors under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license .


  1. Back to top↑ Berlinale Prizes & Honors 1971 .
  2. Back to top↑ The 44th Academy Awards (1972) Nominees and Winners .