A conscientious factory worker gets his finger cut off by a machine. Although the physical handicap is not serious, the accident causes him to become more involved in political and revolutionary groups.
Lulù is a real hard worker. For this reason he is loved by the masters and hated by his own colleagues. The unions decide agitations against the masters. Lulù doesn't agree till he cuts, by accident, one of his own fingers. Now, after he understood the worker's conditions, he agrees the unions and participates to the strike. He immediately is fired and, not only is abandoned by his lover, but also by the other workers. But the fights of the unions allow him under a new legislation to be hired again. At this point his mind starts giving collapse signs... Written by
Elio Petri's "La classe operaia va in paradiso" shows a very subtle cameo of Ennio Morricone, who also composed the original score of this film, awarded with a Palme d'or in the 1972 Cannes Film Festival. The Italian Maestro appears in close up for almost one minute as the anonymous-and obviously uncredited-blue collar who actions the cart, with both hands up and down, at the end of the assembly line in the factory. His repeated gesture immediately activates the "mechanical" music announcing the end titles. See more »
If you want my food, take it. I'm not hungry, I've a rift in my stomach.
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Elio Petri is one of the most important Italian directors: he made some wonderful films about mafia, politics, justice and social equality. Gian Maria Volontè is, in my opinion, the best actor of the last decades of Twentieth Century in Italy: hot-tempered, brutal, passionate, he infuses these traits to his characters. Together, they are an explosive duet. LA CLASSE OPERAIA VA IN PARADISO tells the story of Ludovico "Lulù" Massa, a workaholic machinist who loses his finger in a machine: with his finger, he loses himself, he suffers from alienation and tiredness. But I don't want to spoil anything. The actors are wonderful: Gian Maria Volontè and Mariangela Melato as Lulu's mistress, Lidia, are like a time-bomb, absolutely perfect, both forceful characters. The dirty and denatured cinematography by Luigi Kuvellier, the monotonous and dreary production design by the future Academy Awards winner Dante Ferretti and the repetitive and disturbing score by Ennio Morricone help to build the alienating life of a worker in a big, inhuman factory. And then there's the nervous and indignant direction by Petri that blends everything. It should be screened more often, especially in the schools, but I'm pretty sure that modern Italian boys and girls won't understand this film and, as a result, won't appreciate it.
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