Film: 10809

Feature Drama | 1910 | Silent | B/W

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Synopsis:

Assunta Spina is an operatic tale of love and sacrifice in turn of the century Naples, Italy.

After being assaulted by her jealous lover Michele (Gustavo Serena), Assunta (Francesca Bertini) becomes the mistress of a corrupt Don (Carlo Benetti) so she can visit Michele while he is in prison. When Michele is unexpectedly released, he discovers Assunta's "betrayal," setting the stage for the film's exquisitely tragic finale.

By carefully preserving the regional dialect and customs this film captures the unique essence of Naples: the inimitable characteristics of native Neapolitans. The film was shot largely on location, capturing precious glimpses of life on the streets of Naples, and presaging the rise of Italian Neorealism.


Titles. Credits.
Cartel explaining the setting of the play in Italian.
View of the bay of Naples. Assunta (Francesca Bertini) posing to the camera standing on the wharf dressed with a chal with Naples view I the background.
Intertitle in Italian: "Assunta and her father welcome Michele, Assunta's fiancée".
Assunta and her father (Antonio Cruichi) walk from the house to the train station. They welcome Michele (Gustavo Serena, Assunta's boyfriend coming down the train, the train and the station are full of people. View of Naples from a cliff, Assunta and Michele come to frame, they kiss, hug and talk.
Intertitle in Italian: "Raffaelle feels sorry for Assunta"
Raffaelle (Albertini) comes to frame and observes the couple, then leaves, Assunta and Michelle have a discussion, Michelle acts jealous, they leave. Assunta's father inside the house . He opens the window and see Assunta and Michelle, he invites them into the house. Father opens the door and the couple comes in, there is a decanter with wine and some food, the father acts inviting them to eat, they all sit down happily, Assunta orders Michele to take out his jacket and they eat.
Intertitle in Italian: "Raffaelle is tormented with Michele's presence"
Raffaelle walking past Assunta's house and looking towards the window. Assunta, her father and boyfriend still eating at the table and Michele acting very pleased and very loving with both of them, they all three stand up and dress to leave drinking a last zip of wine. They walked through a square followed by Raffaelle. Train station, Assunta and her father say good bye to Michele, he gets into the train, waving, Raffaelle in the background watching. Assunta and her father in the square, father gives her some money and kisses her good bye, Raffaelle comes walking towards her. View of the bay with boats, Assunta and Raffaelle are talking while they walk along the bay.
Intertitle in Italian: "Assunta tells Raffaelle to leave her in peace"
Assunta pushes Raffaelle away and he tries to convince her, background boats and bay.
Intertitle in Italian: "Raffaelle wants revenge"
Michele is outside a shop (Beccheria) and a colleague gives him a letter, he opens it and reads: "… now that you are away, your Assunta consoles herself with another man. Someone that is concerned about you." Michele destroys the letter.
Intertitle in Italian: "Michele knows Assunta's past and wants to act immediately"
Michele takes out his apron and gets into the shop. Michele arrives to Assunta's house, talks to the father, Assunta arrives and tries to kiss Michele but he pushes her away, he is furious.
Intertitle in Italian: "Assunta's sweet eyes do not hold Michele's respect"
Assunta hugs Michele and she tries to make up, he still argues but he surrenders and kiss her.
Intertitle in Italian: "The joy returns to the two sweethearts"
Assunta and Michelle hugging and kissing in a boat. Michele rowing, they hug and kiss. They walk by the sea shore.
Intertitle in Italian: "Assunta has managed to calm down Michele's hysteria"
Assunta and several other women ironing inside a very atmospheric room, lots of movement, a shoemaker on the background.
Intertitle in Italian: " a surprise"
Michele arrives to where Assunta and the women are working, he gives her a ring, the other women are excited looking at the ring.
Intertitle in Italian: "On the day of her birthday Assunta is looking nicer than ever".
Assunta is dressing up, a woman helps her, Michele arrives and brings her flowers. They are standing on the bay, three boats full of dressed up people waving, they jumped to one of the boats, beautiful Naples on the background. They all arrived to a balcony where a table is set for lunch, greetings.
Intertitle in Italian: "Raffaelle has not given up…"
Raffaelle asks an old man sitting outside about what was going on.
Intertitle in Italian: "You don't know?,. Assunta is getting married?
Assunta and Michele with guests eating and drinking around a big table, Naples in the background.
Intertitle in Italian: "Raffaelle upsets the party with his presence"
The party continues, there a guitarist, Raffaelle joins in, Assunta and Michele are upset.
Intertitle in Italian: "Michele's is jealous and a fight begins"
Michele standing up, furious, smoking.
Intertitle in Italian: "The other approaches"
Raffaelle approaches Assunta. They talk and he gives her the flower from his lapel. The party continues and an old lady arrives, everybody listens to her.
Intertitle in Italian: " The old lady reads Assunta's hand"
All the women at the party want the old lady to read their hands but she reads Assunta's, Assunta is worried, Raffaelle in the background, they talk.
Intertitle in Italian: "Raffaelle still flirting with Assunta, she is worried and doesn't want to listen to him"
Assunta sends Raffaelle away. Assunta talks to Michele and hugs him.
Intertitle in Italian: "Do not think badly Michele, I want you"
Assunta trying to convince Michele.
Intertitle in Italian: "Michele is not convinced"
Michele pushes Assunta away and wants to hit her. People dancing, Assunta by herself sad and worried.
Intertitle in Italian: "Now Assunta is the one who approaches Raffaelle"
Assunta goes to talk to Raffaelle. Michele watching and reacting. People dancing, Assunta flirting and dancing with Raffaelle.
Intertitle in Italian: "The inevitable is coming"
Michele is furious, he separates Assunta from Raffaelle, the family and guests intervened, Assunta gets hold of Michele but he pulls her away, Raffaelle is taken away, Michele threatens Assunta, Michele's mother shouts at Assunta.
Intertitle in Italian: "You have ruined my son"
Assunta shouts back, her father and other people intervened, Assunta cries dramatically, father and other people counselling.
Intertitle in Italian: "On their way back"
Assunta, her father and other guests are walking along a typical Italian street , Michele appears from nowhere and assaults her, Michele runs away, the police arrives, Assunta cries. Assunta arrives to a house with the police, she is devastated, lots of other women and men consoling her, police writing down reports and leaving.
Intertitle in Italian: "Look how I look… give me a mirror"
Assunta looks herself on the mirror and starts shouting and crying, one policeman comes back again and they all take Assunta away.
Intertitle in Italian: "Michele's sad destiny begins"
Two policemen take Michele to a police car, background of busy Naples (carts, people, dogs, tram,.
Intertitle in Italian: "End of the first part"

Intertitle in Italian: "Second Part"
Intertitle in Italian: "The process against Michele is discussed today, in Castelcapuano , the Neapolitan court".
General view of a street in Naples full of people, Neapolitan court exterior (horse drawn cart),
Intertitle in Italian: unreadable, all black
People inside court building, group of women very agitated discussing among themselves and arguing with two policemen. Court exterior, a horse drawn cart, lots of people, Assunta and other people walking into the court building. Interior court room, arrival of Michele with two policemen.
Intertitle in Italian: "Do not worry Michele, I am here to help you"
Assunta gets hold of Michele, Michele is taken along a corridor of people, Assunta insists in talking to him but Michele shouts at her. Assunta is very sad, she sits down, three women are taking care of her.
Intertitle in Italian: "Maria Vergine! If I do not die…."
Assunta and several women outside the court room. Inside the court room a lot people standing. Judge talking to Assunta, she answers back and dramatically touches her heart (breast), touches her head.
Intertitle in Italian: "To safe Michele, Assunta accuses herself of provoking him"
Assunta pleads. Longer shot of the court room, Assunta gets back to the public stand.
Intertitle in Italian: "I hope that everything is going to be all right"
Intertitle in Italian: "But the court condemns Michele to a sentence of two years"
Drama in court, Assunta cries, they take Michele away.
Intertitle in Italian: "Two years… I will not be able see him all that time"
Assunta sits down and cries, Michele being held by two policemen passes by her and shouts, she open her arms and follows him.
Intertitle in Italian: "Federigo Funelli, court vice chancellor, famous for being impertinent, takes interest in Assunta".
A very sad Assunta is sitting down by herself, Federigo Funelli ( Carlo Benetti) approaches and talks to her.
Intertitle in Italian: "If your friend remains in Naples, you can see him at least twice a month.."
Assunta and Funelli talk.
Intertitle in Italian: "How much do you want? What do you want from me?"
Assunta dramatically touches her head and open her arms.
Intertitle in Italian: What? Nothing? Thank you?
Assunta doesn't want to talk him anymore, he leaves. A woman comes to talk to her.
Intertitle in Italian: "The police officer is saying that everyone convicted today are going to be taken to Avellino"
Assunta is desperate, Funelli comes in again and Assunta asks him..
Intertitle in Italian: "You told me that you could make him remain in Naples?
Intertitle in Italian: "For you, everything… let's go to my house…"
They leave and Funelli makes signs of triumph to the other men.
Intertitle in Italian: "Funelli kept his word, Michele remains in Naples".
Exterior of Naples jail, Assunta walks into the building.
Intertitle in Italian: "In the brief visit to the jail, Assunta tries to concentrate in loving Michele and forget that Federico exists in her life"
Sad Assunta waits for Michele, they talk briefly trough the bars, Michele is happy to see her.
Intertitle in Italian: "The old flame is gone. Assunta feels she hasn't been sincere"
Assunta leaves the building. Assunta is at her workplace, Federico arrives and tries to caress her but she avoids him, she tries to convince him to do something for her and suddenly she hugs him.
Intertitle in Italian: "The letter that Michele sent from jail… remains with no reply"
Assunta reads the letter, sighs and cries, reads the letter again, desperate, she destroys it.
Intertitle in Italian: "Many months have passed by. And two days before Christmas…"
Two peasants playing the zampogna.
Intertitle in Italian: "Assunta is not in peace: now also Federigo, after deceiving her, tries to abandoned her to its destiny"
Assunta waits for Federico outside a bar and pleads to him.
Intertitle in Italian: "I absolutely adore you. Come this evening and I will prepare dinner for you"
Assunta pleads more, Federigo leaves and goes back to the bar. She walks into a chapel. She wonders into the streets (very dark / impossible to see what is going on). She arrives to her workplace as all the other women are leaving. She looks sad, sits down, one woman stays and talks to her.
Intertitle in Italian: "You are very fortunate, Mrs. Assunta!…"
Assunta is desperate.
Intertitle in Italian: "Federigo doesn't want to see me anymore. He has ruined me! And now he left me…"… "My dear, you must be happy, he was no good for you"
Assunta kisses her friend on the forehead, the fiend leaves and Assunta cries.
Assunta prepares the table for two, and sits down, she looks very sad, suddenly Michele arrives.
Intertitle: Assunta!
Michele kisses her.
Intertitle in Italian: "... Three months before?
Assunta is very nervous, looks towards the door, Michele kisses her, he notices the two seats at the table.
Intertitle in Italian: "Who have you invited?"… "Peppina. But she cannot come"
Michelle hugs her and brings her to sit at the table with him, he serves himself and begins to eat. Assunta is nervous and she faints / Michele holds her in his hands, They talk, Assunta is nervous.
Intertitle in Italian: "I think you are looking very pretty Assunta! I could see that".
Michele hugs her and tries to kiss Assunta but she resists.
Intertitle in Italian: "Leave me, leave me!"
"But why?"
"Because I am not firewood"
Assunta cries and Michele is confused, he sits down, he questions her, she tries to explain to him, he hauls her, she cries, he pushes her and shouts at her.
Intertitle in Italian: "Do you want me to go back to jail?"
Michele sits down, takes a zip of wine and recriminates Assunta, she cries, he stands up and still recriminates her, she sits down, he is furious now and slightly violent towards her, she pleads for mercy.
Intertitle in Italian: "And with who?… Talk, otherwise I kill you" …
"You know"…
"Don Federigo?!…"
Michele is devastated. Don Federigo leaving the bar. Michele and Assunta noticed that someone is coming to the house, he questions her, she lowers her face and not responds, he runs to the door, she follows him, he violently pushes her away.
As Michele leaves the house Federigo is arriving, they fight. Assunta stands up and goes to the door watching the fight, she takes her hands to her head, Federigo enters the house, he is wounded, he stumbles, Assunta closes the door, Federigo collapses, she approaches, looks at him and then towards the door, she wants to go out but she decides not to. Through the door we could see there is people gathering outside. Assunta is afraid, she hides behind the table, three policemen arrive and see Federigo lying on the floor, they see Assunta.
Intertitle in Italian: "Let's go"
"Why and who is in charge?"
"With me, the brigadier"
The policemen take Assunta to the door, she watches Federigo as she is taken away, people outside watching the situation, she is taken away, the door closes and one policeman stays indoors with Federigo.
Title in Italian: THE END


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