Ermanno Olmi’s Masterpiece Returns to the Big Screen

On Film / Short Takes — Dec 16, 2016

One of the most ambitious achievements of Italian master Ermanno Olmi’s career, The Tree of Wooden Clogs opens at New York’s Film Forum today in a ravishing new 4K restoration, supervised by the director himself. Made in close collaboration with its nonprofessional cast, this immersive portrait of the nineteenth-century agricultural working class in a remote area of Lombardy patiently chronicles the daily struggles of four peasant families under the thumb of an oppressive landowner. Though Olmi’s heartrending account of feudal exploitation is suffused with his distinctly Marxist worldview, Wooden Clogs is also a lovingly detailed paean to a vanishing way of life, capturing its characters’ intimate bond with nature and the sounds of their native Bergamasque dialect. Enjoy a sneak peek of this 1978 Palme d’Or winner in the trailer below, and read Bilge Ebiri’s rave review in the Village Voice.