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Domenico and Antonietta are two suburban Italian youths who meet while seeking "a job for life" from a big city corporation. After a bizarre screening process made up of written exams, physical agility exercises, and interview questions such as "Do you drink to forget your troubles?" (Domenico and Antonietta are no older than 17 or 18), they land jobs in the "Technical Division" and "Typing Services" respectively. From there, Domenico works as an underutilized errand boy until a clerk position is vacated by the death of an older employee. Domenico finally takes his place in a room of 12 other clerks with a manager overseeing them from a desk at the head of the room. The film ends as Domenico ponders his fate, from behind his tiny desk at the back of the small windowless room, listening to the sound of the mimeograph machine as it runs off carbon copies next to the manager's desk. Written by
Alex M. Dunne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I had never heard of Ermanno Olmi when I sat down to watch "Il posto". If this movie is any indication, then his other work must be masterful. The movie portrays young Domenico leaving his grim existence in a small town near Milan to move to the big city in hopes of finding work with a corporation. In the process, the most important thing that happens to him is that he develops a relationship with a woman looking for the job.
I believe that there are several ways to interpret the movie. One is about the changing Italy of the post-WWII years. Following the war, Italy was destroyed economically, and the people would now have to try and make their way while also dealing with the results of Mussolini's actions (much like how the German people would have to deal with the results of Hitler's actions). In that sense, Domenico is trapped in a world resembling the old Italy, and so he, as an agent of the new generation in the post-war years, is trying to seek a new path in the world.
Of course, there is also the theme of the corporate world. He enters the building and finds many people applying for the same job. Most likely only one person can get the job, and so the rest will get tossed aside just as casually as they were admitted, left to fend for themselves once again. In this respect, we see the irony in Domenico's search for a new path: his aim of making his way in the world will probably deprive others of the chance of having a better life. But what can we say about the corporate world? All in all, I really recommend this movie. Like much of Italian cinema during the past sixty years, it shows that country having to come to terms with itself, rejecting the idealized impressions that had previously held sway ("Malena" also showed this). Really good.
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