The Tree of Wooden Clogs 1978
L’albero degli zoccoli (original title)
3h 6min | Drama, History | May 1978 (France)
The life inside a farm in Italy at the beginning of the century. Many poor country families live there, and the owner pays them by their productivity. One of the families has a very clever child. They decide to send him to school instead of make him help them, although this represents a great sacrifice. The boy has to wake up very early and walk several miles to get to the school. One day the boy’s shoes break when returning home, but they do not have money to buy another pair. What can they do?
This film really surprises. It is long and detailed, yet, it is amazingly suspenseful. The quiet sturdy look at rural life in Italy manages to accomplish the amazing feet of truly “being” a film of “the oppressed” rather than a mere analysis of “the wretched of the earth”. Olmi’s direction of the non-professional cast is superb and the film is beautifully shot and edited.
Don’t be afraid of this film. It does not actually seem long, nor does it seem aimless or plotless. While one may say that “the whole pesant community” is the real protagonist there are clearly defined characters in the film whose narratives we follow. In fact, the films strategy is one of integration of these narrative strands in a seemingly coherent and logical way. A wonderful, very emotionally moving experience with a clear, sharp, political analysis.
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Writer: Ermanno Olmi
Stars: Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi, Omar Brignoli
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