The life inside a farm in Italy at the end of the 19th century. Many poor country families live there, and the owner pays them by their productivity. One of the families has a very clever child. They decide to send him to school instead of make him help them, although this represents a great sacrifice. The boy has to wake up very early and walk several miles to get to the school. One day the boy's shoes break when returning home, but they do not have money to buy another pair. What can they do?Written by
Michel Rudoy <email@example.com>
Once in a generation, a work of art appears as if by magic, to move and inspire its audience. A work that returns to a exhausted humanity the possibility of simple grandeur. We invite you to visit a time and place when life was still a sacred matter. When the family of man was still - a family.
An artistic masterpiece that almost any observant Catholic will cherish, especially an Italian Catholic. It is unclear how nonbelievers will connect to the film. By watching the film one discovers that while material possessions may make life easier they certainly can be a stumbling block on the path to sanctity. These peasants really put late twentieth century American Catholics to shame.
The film slowly unveils to the viewers one year in the life of Italian peasants at the close of the nineteenth century. That's about it. There's no hero, no antagonist, and no great wrong that gets set right; it's simply a slice of life. I do not want to reveal too much of the story because I think it will spoil it for the viewer.
The film can serve as an educational tool for viewers with children. It's like going to an outdoor historical museum, only the viewer gets to see everything that it would take one whole year to see at the museum (without the crowds). For example, the director takes the time to show painstakingly what it was like to wash clothes one hundred years ago. It's essentially a living documentary of late nineteenth century Italian provincial life.
Most American audiences will have to get used to the slow pace of the film. Even the humor is extremely subtle. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the pace. The pace was silent, peaceful, and steadfast just as the families are in the film. To me it is an escape (ironically an escape from an escape) from many of today's films that just explode with sound effects and rock music; films that move at blurring speed with scene cuts that are made with the intent to maximize audience stimulation but often with the result of increasing our stress level. This movie is a restful reprieve.
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