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I Fidanzati (1963)

I fidanzati (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 16 May 1963 (Italy)
Despite his fiancee's reluctance, a young man moves to Sicily for a better job, but soon starts questioning his decision.


Ermanno Olmi


Ermanno Olmi
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Anna Canzi ... Liliana
Carlo Cabrini Carlo Cabrini ... Giovanni
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In the industrial North, Giovanni is a skilled factory worker offered a promotion if he'll go to Sicily for 18 months to assist in a new department. His impending absence strains his already nearly wordless relationship with Liliana, his fiancée. They meet regularly at a dance hall and sometimes go riding on his motorcycle. We watch him arrive in Sicily, walk the town, live in a hotel, find lodgings, work, and participate in local events. It's a solitary, melancholy life. In his mind's eye he thinks about Liliana. He hasn't been entirely faithful. There's pain and detachment in her eyes. Across this distance, can anything bring about a breakthrough? Do they have a future? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Title translation: The Engaged Couple. See more »


Liliana: [narrating from a letter written to Giovanni] I don't go dancing anymore. I don't want to go to the Speranza and see all our friends. I don't want them asking about you with those insinuating smiles - you know how people are. I'd be embarrassed. We have so many memories from that place. You could say that's where we met, when I used to accompany my older sister there. I was 15 or 16, remember? You were just back from the military. I've never told you this, but the first time you asked me to ...
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Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Les signes parmi nous (1999) See more »

User Reviews

The mysteries of Love !!!
5 June 2016 | by avik-basu1889See all my reviews

My first exposure to an Ermanno Olmi film was through 'Il Posto' and I thought that film was a small masterpiece. So clearly I was going to explore more of his films. Being the second Olmi film that I have ever watched, all 'I Fidanzati' did was to give me further evidence of Olmi's prowess in screen writing and directing.

To be honest, in a political sense, both 'Il Posto' and 'I Fidanzati' are in the same ball park. Both films explore the corporate scene of Post WW2 Italy and the varied effects of the economic boom on the lives of the working class people. 'Il Posto' dealt with the need to grow up prematurely and pledge allegiance to the corporate system as early as possible for survival in a cutthroat society. 'I Fidanzati' deals with a man who is older than the protagonist in 'Il Posto', but who is also dealing with the effect that the need and the urge to get ahead in the rat race has on his life, more precisely his love life. Giovanni and his fiancé Liliana's lives get turned upside down when he decides to leave Milan and go to Sicily for a job opportunity with more pay. The first scene of the film is very provocative. We are shown this dance hall where the atmosphere is as dull as ever. People are here just as a habit and their desire to enjoy themselves have probably become a chore now. Then we meet the main couple. Both Giovanni and Liliana's faces and the way that they behave with each other tells us clearly that all is not well between them. Then Olmi gives us some flashbacks to inform us about the reasons behind this tension between the two. We then see Giovanni leave for Sicily and what awaits him there is not something that enthralls him. His life becomes synonymous with his work with absolutely nothing to do during his free time. He just wanders around the streets observing people when he isn't in the factory toiling away. There is a scene in Sicily where we see a big carnival-like celebration which Giovanni visits. This scene beautifully complements the opening scene of the movie in the dance hall. This is because the atmosphere here is very energetic and frantic unlike the atmosphere in that scene. However, Giovanni still leaves this celebration feeling lonely due to the absence of Liliana. Ironically this separation actually helps both of them to understand each other a little better in hindsight. What I really love about 'I Fidanzati' is that although Olmi is clearly making a statement on the dehumanising nature of the rampant industrialisation, but just like Antonioni he does it through subtle storytelling and never allows his political statements to obscure what is the heartbeat of the film which is the romance between Giovanni and Liliana and the realisations that they make about their relationship over the course of the film.

In both 'Il Posto' and 'I Fidanzati', I have noticed the fact that Olmi's style of storytelling has an inherent innocence about it. His camera is non-judgmental. He understands his characters and observes them without forcing the viewer to draw rapid and concrete conclusions about them akin to the humanist filmmakers of the 50s and 60s. Just like 'Il Posto', he revels in just observing his characters observing things without doing much. His style of realism gives you hints of his documentary filmmaking past. There is also some French New Wave- esque use of jump cuts in certain scenes that I wasn't really expecting. He doesn't feel the need to cram a lot of stuff and incidents in his screenplays. However, for a film with very little plot development, he does manage to infuse some ambiguity. The scenes where his screenplay delves into non-linearity can be interpreted in more than one ways as per the desire of the viewer. The ending itself is ambiguous. For me, the film ends on a bittersweet note. However, I have read reviews where the ending has been interpreted in a far more pessimistic sense.

The acting in 'I Fidanzati' is tough to judge. One might say that the actors specially Carlo Cabrini doesn't do much except observe things. But I think Cabrini does bring an understated humanism to the role. You can clearly see the loneliness in his eyes when he is looking at himself in the mirror after coming back to his hotel from the celebrations or the subtle joy in his eyes when he sees the dog causing chaos in the church. Anna Canzi who plays Liliana has a very expressive face and very expressive eyes. She doesn't appear in too many scenes, but whenever she does, she makes you know what she is feeling and thinking just through her eyes. Considering that both of them were amateurs, one has to praise Olmi a lot for having the ability to get these subtle performances out of non- professionals.

'I Fidanzati' has cemented Ermanno Olmi's status as an auteur in my eyes whose work I should keep exploring. Although I love 'Il Posto' slightly more than this film, never the less the skill, artistry and humanism present in 'I Fidanzati' make it a great film.

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Release Date:

16 May 1963 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fiances See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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