An enormous success that has entered into Italian cinema history and culture
A quintessential melodrama of unexpected richness and complexity
The first film to feature the pairing of Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson, which will make millions of viewers cry and dream
Catene is a film that marked a turning point. It came out of nowhere and was hugely successful. Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson put body and soul into their on-screen couple. They will go on to star in another three films directed by Matarazzo, destined to repeat their torments in what critics called the “quartet of tears”. After being held in low regard by critics due to its tear-jerker sentimentality, it is now widely recognised not only for its intelligence, but also for its richness and complexity. Perhaps due to its provocative spirit, the film was often placed in the neorealist category, demonstrating how the film’s iconography can lend itself to extremely intriguing interpretations. Critic Stefano Della Casa writes that Matarazzo’s films “are the quintessence of Italian melodrama, because they fearlessly revolve around female characters”. Catene is now considered a classic of Italian art cinema, but we hope that this will not distract people from its formidable ability to move.
Pietro, a mechanic, and his wife Rosa live happily with their two children. Their marriage is threatened, however, when Rosa’s ex-boyfriend shows up. He wants her back and threatens to reveal their past relationship to Pietro. In a fit of jealousy, Pietro kills his wife’s ex-lover and then flees to America. He is arrested and put on trial, only avoiding a lengthy sentence when Rosa falsely admits to having committed adultery. When Pietro’s lawyer tells him the truth, husband and wife are reconciled.