A Difficult Life

Synopsis: Silvio refuses to fight for the fascists and joins the resistance with Elena. After the war, his vitriolic newspaper articles cause him to be sentenced to imprisonment.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Director(s): Dino Risi
  2 wins & 3 nominations.
118 min


Take the typewriter!

- My God! Careful, Silvio!

- Who is it?

Do you remember it now, mrs. Pavinato,

at the hotel "Leon d'oro"?

- Say the Tisico sent you.

- Goodbye and thanks. - Bye, Silvio.

Careful, the Germans are there.

Not there, the hotel is on the other side.

Attention, Germans coming.

- Heil, Hitler.

- Heil, Hitler.

Are you the landlady of the hotel?



- Mrs. Pavinato?

- Yes, what do you want?

The Tisico sent me. You have a flour mill,

can you give me the keys?

- Why? - We are five,

in need of a secure shelter.

- Who are you? - I am Silvio,

the partisan journalist

writing for "La Scintilla".

I need your flour mill.

Move on! I don't want

anything to do with you.

- You have stolen salami from me.

- Be careful what you say.

I am no thief, I am an officer

and a university student.

I look like this because

I'm hunted for by the Germans.

I don't want to have anything to do with you.

For three nights I've been sleeping in a

cemetary, with a terrible toothache.

If it does not give the keys to me,

I'll break open the door!

I fight against the Germans

and I must be helped!

Is that the German?

Hands up!

- What's that?

- A typewriter. I'm a writer.

- You're a partisan!

- No, I'm a writer. Artist. Novelist.

Madam, you speak German.

Help me, this will kill me.

You cannot kill me just like that,

you must prosecute me.

You don't deserve a legal process,

italian traitor!

- You've been firing at my German comrades.

- My God!


You killed him with an iron?

Where are you going?

- Murderer, what have you done?

- It was her. - Elena?

What's going on?

In my room there is NO hot water.


hot water for lieutenant Franz.

- Leave now.

- Where? - Now!

Come with me. Run!

- Are the Germans there?

- Go.

Where are you running? Here.

- What are you doing?

- Taking the keys.

- Whose house is it? - My grandfather's

flour mill. It's abandoned now.

- The Germans will not find you here.

- You're right. - Get inside.


- Let's hide the machine gun.

- Yes, take it.

We'll put it here.

It's beautiful here, I like it.

- Thanks, you have saved my life.

- Eh!

What's up, do I scare you?

Are you a servant?

Do you work in that hotel?

What do you mean, servant.

I'm the landlady's daughter.

- You, who are you? What you do in life?

- I'm a student.

- Southerner?

- No, I'm from Rome.

- You're a Roman?

- Yes.

- How did you end up here?

- I was a second lieutenant in Como.

Then came the 8th of september,

my regiment was abandoned

You're shaking. Are you cold? Afraid?

No, I have a neuralgia swelling

in my cheek, closing my eye.

I have many pains because of

the humidity. I also have a cough.

- You have bronchitis?

- Chronic bronchitis.

Do you have lice?

No, I'm clean,

I wash myself nearly every day.

This fabric is itching me,

it is mutton wool.

- Let's go.

- Eh?

- Let's go. - Where?

- Here!

You can rest here, then tonight

when it's dark you can move on.

- Whose bed is it?

- My grandfather's. - Beautiful!

- I haven't slept in a bed for four months.

- Where did you sleep?

Where we printed the newspapers,

under bridges, in cemetaries.

Every night we changed places,

to avoid being found by the the Germans.

Let me make the bed.

I'm distressed, because for three nights

I've been sleeping in a cemetary,

- in a tomb, next to a dead man.

- Holy Mother!

- Here, put yourself to bed.

- How nice! Tomorrow morning I will move on.

- Where will you go? - I'll catch up with

my companions, they need me.

I write the newspaper,

they are poor and unfortunate.

They are brave, but illiterate.

- Go to sleep now.

Afterwards I'll get you hot milk and an aspirin.

- Also get me a cigarette.

- Very well.

- What is your name?

- Elena.

- And you?

- Silvio.

Thanks, Elena, I will be grateful

to you for the rest of my life.

- What are you doing?

- I haven't seen a woman in months. Stay with me.

- No, I'm going to the hotel.

- Should I come also? - No.

I'll sleep now, and tomorrow

at dawn I will move on.

- Good bye.

- Close the door.

Radio newscast. From the Don

to the deserts of Africa, calmness reigns.

Also in the Three-Power Pact nations,

Christmas is celebrated.

The Fhrer has assured it will be

the last Christmas of war.

Victory is sure.

- What a beautiful beard you have!

- Do you like it?

My grandparents slept

in this bed for 40 years.

- 40 years, always together?

- Yes, until they died.

Give me a cigarette.

Your mother, what does she say?

She knows we're together?

- No, she believes you are dead.

- Dead?

Everyone thinks you're dead,

even the Germans.

You've kept me here for three months.

My newspaper does not come out anymore.

It would be worse if I were dead.

- Do you hear steps? - Is it your mother?

- I don't know, I'll go see.

- Who is it?

- Your friends, the partisans.

- Look at that! Pippo, Lepre, the Vampiro.

- Which one is the Vampiro?

Look. All of my companions

who were with me. I'm going out.

- Where?

- I must go.

- You said you would leave tomorrow.

- You've held me here for three months.

- I want to call out to them.

- Let them go, they haven't seen you.

Pinza, Pedro, Aquila!

- Close it, or you will catch bronchitis.

- They have gone.

How cold!

They are gone. And I, what do I do?

- You will go to bed. - To bed?

- Yes, you're cold.

- I should have gone with them.

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Rodolfo Sonego

Rodolfo Sonego (27 February 1921 – 15 October 2000) was an Italian screenwriter. He wrote Commedia all'italiana films such as A Difficult Life, Il vedovo, and The Traffic Policeman. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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