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A Brief Vacation (1973)

Una breve vacanza (original title)
Clara, diagnosed with tubercolosis, is treated in a sanatorium in the Alps, where she can finally take a break from her miserable life.


Vittorio De Sica


Rodolfo Sonego (story), Cesare Zavattini
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Florinda Bolkan ... Clara Mataro
Renato Salvatori ... The husband
Daniel Quenaud Daniel Quenaud ... Luigi
José María Prada ... Ciranni (as Josè Maria Prada)
Teresa Gimpera ... Gina
Hugo Blanco ... The brother in law
Julia Peña Julia Peña ... Edvige (as Julia Pena)
Miranda Campa Miranda Campa ... Nurse Guidotti
Angela Cardile Angela Cardile ... The redhead
Anna Carena ... The mother in law
Monica Guerritore ... Maria
Maria Mizar Maria Mizar ... Nurse Garin
Alessandro Romanazzi Alessandro Romanazzi ... The son
Adriana Asti ... Scanziani
Enrico Baroni Enrico Baroni
Learn more

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A women lives a miserable life in the basement of her Milan apartment, with her boring inlaws and three children (boys). Her husband has been injured. Her bleak life takes an unexpected turn when she is diagnosed with tuberculosis and has to go to a sanatorium in the Italian Alps. At the medical clinic in Milan she meets young mechanic with the similar health problems. At the sanatorium she meets again the same man and they start a passionate love affair. All good things must come to an end. When she is cured, she has to return to that rathole from which she only briefly emerged. Written by marty gottlieb <anangke@erols.com>, prokurator@gmail.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For everyone who has had a private moment of love. Or wishes for one. See more »


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to producer Arthur Cohn, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Jane Fonda all wanted to play the role of Clara Mataro which ultimately went to Florinda Bolkan. See more »


Referenced in Carrie (1976) See more »


Music by Manuel De Sica
Lyrics by Gene Lees
Sung by Christian De Sica
See more »

User Reviews

Awakening of a woman.
5 June 2004 | by ItalianGerrySee all my reviews

Vittorio De Sica collaborated again on this excellent film with screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, as he had in the postwar "Shoe Shine," "The Bicycle Thief," Umberto D," and their 60s French film "A Young World." They have fashioned, from a story by Rodolfo Sonego, a realistic and at times romantic drama about an Italian housewife (Florinda Bolkan in an amazing performance), living in a Milan suburb and married to a crass husband (Renato Salvatori) who treats her like a pack animal.

She supports the husband, unemployed because of an accident as well as her three sons and several in-laws, by working in a grim factory worse than that in Petri's "The Working Class Goes to Heaven" or Rossellini's "Europa '51."

She collapses from exhaustion and TB and is sent at company expense for "una breve vacanza" at a sanatorium in the Dolomites. Here she experiences a major change and awakening, not merely physical and emotional (as in a tender relationship with a machinist) but a profound radical change in which she examines for the first time her fundamental nature as a human being and as a woman. She can never be the same after she returns home.

Italian class and sex attitudes are perceptively analyzed here, and there is un unforgettable characterization by Adriana Asti as a foul-mouthed yet compassionate woman in the last days of a terminal illness. (Remember her in Bertolucci's "Before the Revolution"?)

I find it ironic that though this great "feminist" movie was written and directed by men, it is more effective in that regard in ways that its contemporary "Swept Away," made by a woman, is not.

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Release Date:

9 February 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Brief Vacation See more »

Filming Locations:

Milan, Lombardia, Italy See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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