4 items from 2017
Ermanno Olmi’s three-hour saga is a masterful ethnographic recreation of the long-gone way of life of Italian tenant farmers, virtual slaves working for a landowner. We see the entire agrarian lifestyle, with hints of modern times on the way. An ever-present backdrop of spiritualism and faith keeps the laborers going. Using unprofessional actors and an obsolete dialect, this is listed as one of the great Italian films of the 1970s.
The Criterion Collection 854
1978 / Color / 1:33 flat full frame / 187 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date February 14, 2017 / 39.95
Photographed & Edited by Ermanno Olmi
Sets: Enrico Tovaglieri
Costumes: Francesca Zucchelli
Produced by Attillio Torricelli
Written and Directed by Ermanno Olmi
- Glenn Erickson
"I'm going to find a tree to chop down." That line, perhaps familiar from another film released by Criterion, Moonrise Kingdom, also applies to this new release by the company, respected Italian director Ermanno Olmi's 1978 Palme D'or winner, The Tree of Wooden Clogs. Like Bill Murray in the afore-referenced Wes Anderson fave, Tree also features a despondent father with a literal ax to grind as part of its sprawling ensemble. Except, Olmi's makeshift lumberjack is no laughing matter. He dare not utter of his tree chopping. He has his reasons; reasons which prove impactful and costly. Olmi's The Tree of Wooden Clogs is, like Malick's The New World, one of those rare period films that has built its world so well, it's easy to...
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As the art film revolution of the late 1950s and 1960s gave way to more populist manifestations of its stylistic inventions, so too did the “foreign language drama” become a codified form. As Bergman, Antonioni, Kurosawa, Fellini, and other renowned directors of that earlier time aged out of their peak years of financial viability, a new class found a framework in which to ground their career. They didn’t always have the training in commercial art that their forerunners had worked in and helped develop before eventually resisting, subverting, or overthrowing, but they had the stamina and the work ethic to invest in the trappings that made earlier more revolutionary works so galvanizing.
Ermanno Olmi made his start in documentary shorts, making more than two dozen from 1953-1959, before making his feature narrative debut with Time Stood Still (1959), an avalanche drama about a generational divide. He gained considerably more acclaim for 1961’s Il Posto, »
- Scott Nye
Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.
Within the alien subgenre, there lies another. Therein, knowledge is treasure and the fifth dimension is love. The major rule: once the mystery and the chills have subsided, the revelations are enlightening and the welcomes warm. Thankfully, Denis Villeneuve‘s Arrival is more worthwhile than that. The film juggles a bit of world-building with meaty, compelling characters while trying to make linguistics look cool. No easy task, but the film does so in a breeze »
- The Film Stage
4 items from 2017
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