The Tree of Wooden Clogs

  • Film
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Olmi's uncompromising reconstruction of peasant life in turn-of-the-century Lombardy marks a return to his origins in neo-realism and non-professional casts. Choreographed as an ensemble work that admits no star performers, his film takes its unhurried pace from the lives of the dirt farmers it observes - lives of repetitive drudgery punctuated by cautious moments of felicity. Its gently muted colour camerawork succeeds in covering the exquisite landscape with a thin patina of mud, while for two of its three hours the changing of the seasons is the closest the film comes to a dramatic event. By showing peasant exploitation as neither triumphant Calvary nor action-packed drama, Olmi refutes both 1900 and Padre Padrone, and creates a near-perfect hermetic universe, punctured only in those rare moments when, as tautologous as the film's English title, he dots the 'i's on the amply demonstrated Marxist message. Still, a near faultless and major film.

Release details

Duration: 186 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ermanno Olmi
Screenwriter: Ermanno Olmi
Cast: Luigi Ornaghi
Francesca Moriggi
Omar Brignoli
Antonio Ferrari Teresa Brescianini
Giuseppe Brignoli
Carlo Rota
Pasqualina Brolis
Massimo Fratus
Francesca Villa
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