We the Living

Set in the chaotic aftermath of the Russian revolution, We the Living is the story of a young woman who courageously defies a brutal regime. It is an extraordinary tale of romance and betrayal and, at its core, a fierce and impassioned outcry for the right of each human being to live free.
Based on the novel by Ayn Rand, We the Living stars Alida Valli (as Kira), Rossano Brazzi (as Leo), and Fosco Giachetti (as Andrei). Alida Valli's luminous portrayal of a sexually independent heroine was both daring and groundbreaking for its time.

  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Noi Vivi
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Other
  • Runtime:
    2 hours 53 minutes
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography

Goffredo Alessandrini, born in Cairo in 1904, was a very successful director during Mussolini’s regime. Although, initially, his films were influenced by his brief stay in Hollywood in the early 1930's for MGM Studios, he successfully made the transition from musical comedies to historical dramas and ideological propaganda films when the tide of war changed the focus of filmmaking.

All of his films are noted for their extreme realism, and have been lauded as anticipating the Neo-Realist movement that was to follow the end of the war. THE LIFE OF CARAVAGGIO and DON BOSCO were praised for their direction and received exceptional reviews.His colonial film, ABUNA MESSIAS received several awards.During his career, Alessandrini directed approximately 20 films. Looking at them today, they still hold fascination for the viewer.
Among his most important films: LA SEGRETARIA PRIVATE (1931); CAVALLERIA (1936); UNA DONNA FRA DUE MONDI (1937); LUCIANO SERRA-PILOTA (1938); IL PONTE DI VETRO (1940); FURIA (1948); and RAPTURE (1950).

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Director Statement

Noi vivi was a novel that had just recently been published in Italy, by Ayn Rand, an American novelist of Russian origin. It was set against the very interesting backdrop of the Russian revolution and featured three characters that, in my opinion, were perfect from a cinematic point of view: a girl from a well-off family; a serious and committed police inspector; and the young son of an admiral in the throes of love. The two male characters were so different from one another, but so interesting anyway, and in between them was this young girl who was in love with one of them because ofhis beauty (thanks to her romantic side) and with the other because of the missionary-like zeal with which he pursued his political life. They were captivating characters for a middlebrow audience. So much so that the film was as successful as you might have predicted, but not at the time. The film was presented at the Venice Film Festival and lasted nearly four hours – three hours and 50 minutes. I must admit that, strangely, during those three hours and 50 minutes nobody got up (and I was rather pleased by this). And it was greeted by delirious applause. Later, Noi vivi was divided into two parts: Noi vivi and Addio Kira.
Nobody described it as an anti-Communist film. Scalera never asked me to make such a film. It was clear to any Italian reader that there were many possible parallels with our situation. For example, the fact that you couldn’t work if you weren’t a member of the party. There was the famous (in the book or for those who saw the film) case of Brazzi who, being the son of an aristocrat exiled by the Communist regime, did not have a job, could not work, and did not want to join up. So, there were situations rather similar to what was happening around us. As a result of this and other analogies, Noi vivi was later unofficially known as the nudge-in-the-dark film. Because that is what happened, and I’ve been told about many instances in which people nudged each other in the dark when confronted by certain situations.