Ermanno Olmi – Il Posto (1961)

“Ermanno Olmi’s first feature, Il Posto (1961), is often misrepresented as being a continuation of the tradition of neorealism. This highly influential postwar film movement, which produced such masterpieces as Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (1945) and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948), is characterised by stories of ordinary people in ordinary situations, on-location shooting, non-actors and a grounding in a desire to truthfully examine Italian social structures. At first glance, Il Posto seems to fit the bill perfectly: it is the story of Domenico (non-professional actor Sandro Panseri), who, along with many other youth in the towns of Lombardy, must seek work in the big city of Turin. Olmi shows us his protagonist’s humble circumstances at home, and he gives us a sense that Domenico’s story, though individual, is part of a larger story that includes those of many young people caught up in the Italian economic miracle. Domenico is part of a crowd on the packed trains to Turin, and we watch him and many others sweat through the employment process, with Olmi taking the time to diverge from the main narrative to allow us to sympathise with and follow – if only for a few moments – other characters’ ordeals. While Il Posto offers an overall feeling of how the employment process grinds the individual into the routinisation of corporate life, it never forgets the particular story of Domenico. He notices a young woman, Antonietta (Loredana Detto), also applying to the company, and the two experience Turin together as young suburbanites, both attracted to and bewildered by the busy trattorias, street life and careworn city workers all around them. … It is easy to see why critics have seen Il Posto – as a depiction of a generation of new Italian workers, with a focus on the humdrum details of prosaic work – as a new expression of neorealism. Looking more closely, however, we find that Olmi has much more in common with his 1960s contemporaries like Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini. These directors are interested in the more middle-class concerns of an Italy recovered from the war; psychological alienation, lack of human connection and urban loneliness are their themes. …”
Senses of Cinema
Il Posto [1961] – A Masterful Study of Human Condition in a Compartmentalized World
W – Il Posto
YouTube: IL POSTO Trailer

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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