Francesco Guido (1946)
An Italian animation masterpiece.
L’ultimo Sciuscià is an italian cartoon produced in 1946 by Alfa Circus, an animation studio founded after the end of WWII by Gibba (pseudonym of Francesco Maurizio Guido), who also was the director of this short, which is remarkable because it represents the only example of an animated neorealistic film.
Gibba, who had formerly worked as an animator, for his first work as a cartoon director, attempted to produce a short that could differ from the rest of Italian animated productions of the time, which were specifically targeted to children, trying to show that animation was a medium that could address also to a more adult and wide audience. For his first cartoon, he got the inspiration from the neorealistic movies produced in Italy during the post-WWII period, characterized by the depiction of the most poor and difficult situations in Italy as a result of the tragedies of war. L’ultimo Sciuscià is the story of a little boy selling contraband cigarettes at street corners, constantly struggling against the difficulties of living a poor life. His only friend is his faithful little dog, Matteo, that represents a conjunction of this cartoon to the formula of many other cartoons, with a main character and his four-legged pal.
This cartoon constitutes a transition between the classic cartoony style and the more “mature” style that Gibba was trying to introduce in the animated medium, with an interesting alternation of humorous scenes and serious (and often sad) themes.