Sunday, October 14, 2012

I FIDANZATI (Italian) (1963)

Exploring this third Ermanno Olmi film and must say he’s the one of that director I discovered this year who’ll remain so special in my cinematic journey. Olmi’s cinema is beautiful link connecting world war torn classic melodrama of Neo-realistic films and modern industrial neo urban generation. He is one of those post war neorealist, who brought to screen contemplative images of humanity to screen. Like predecessors, for the most of his films he worked with amateur actors, chose simple subjects set in natural environment, filmed with minimalist approach and brought subtle artistic images to ponder for viewers.

What is rare about Olmi is his commitment to Italy’s regional rural heritage, a distinct feature of his films that captures the contemplative ethos of purity; I’ve witnessed it in his ‘Il Posto’ and ‘The Tree of Wooden Clogs’. In this film, a worker committed to a young lady in Milan is temporarily assigned to work in plant located at far provincial region. The film is focused on his longing for home and fiancée. Both ‘Il Posto’ and this one preoccupied with theme of an individual young working class man caught between employment and individual quest to find dignity of labour and has to face his love life in tension. Departure brings best feelings and longing the pure ones. Ah that exchange of letters between departed lovers reminds me some of the most beautiful memory of my life.

It seems like Olmi, extended something from that Christmas party scene of his ‘Il Posto’ where two lonesome young souls keep watching other dancing couples in a restaurant table. The film begins exactly with similar set up where in a restaurant an afraid couple remains all aloof from each other watching other partners and then starts dancing with strange partners. Memory keeps playing see-saw of each other’s vibrations of emotions. The intricate use of flashback narrative brilliantly alternates between images of memory (past) longing (personal) and reality (present) and the amalgamation of all these brings something so poetic in result. In how many films do we witness the subtlety of what’s happening in character’s mind when there’s some other physical action going on in his life. The classy background score with melodious harmony of piano and accordion with and aesthetic B&W camera work adds feathers to film’s uniqueness. Olmi’s minute sublime observation and detail is so rich and universally humane and aesthetically so divine and natural.

Oh I love to explore more of him…or else like to rewatch all three Olmi films I managed to watch till day.    

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