Generally regarded as the masterpiece of Italian film director Ermanno Olmi, this rural epic depicts the lives of several families on a tenant farm in northern Italy in 1898, as they struggle to make ends meet. The painterly depiction of Lombardy peasant life, with its unfolding, interwoven stories is magnificent in its authenticity. One of the families has a very clever child whom they chose to have attend school instead of working in the fields, although this represents a great sacrifice. The boy wakes very early and walks several miles to get to school, but one day his shoe breaks on the way home, and they do not have money to buy another pair. What can they do?
Olmi coaxed realistic and endearing performances from his non-professional cast; his affection for his characters and the film’s warm, gentle humanism are beguiling. Tree of the Wooden Clogs was honored with the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Drama/ History, Italy
(Due to the length of the film, there will be a 15 minute intermission)