A Sardinian peasant is implicated in the murder of a policeman and, although innocent, he doesn’t give himself up, lacking faith in the judicial system and fearing that he may lose his sheep while awaiting trial. He leaves for the mountains with his brother but life is difficult and his flock dies. Returning to the town he discovers his family in abject poverty. He procures a gun and, forced by his social predicament, resorts to banditry. —BFI
Came from an aristocratic family. After studying architecture in Rome for some time, he began his film career in 1953, working as a second assistant director to Mario Chiari for an episode of the film Loves of half a century. In 1954 he became assistant director to Jean The Paul-Chanois in Wonderful Time. Later he worked as a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker.
He started realizing documentaries in the 1950’s. They were set mainly in Sicily and Sardinia, using powerful expressiveness to describe the ways of living of the proletariat Southern and the harsh living conditions of Sicilian fishermen and miners that worked sulfur mines. Among these films, the documentary Island of Fire, set in the Aeolian Islands, was named best documentary at the Cannes Festival in 1955.
In 1961 he made his debut with the film Bandits Orgosolo, written with his wife Vera Gherarducci, a film stylistically dry and enriched by neo-realism. The film won the Best First Feature Award at the Venice… read more
In many respects, this compassionate yet unsentimental effort is an extension of De Seta's 1959 short Shepherds of Orgosolo. In that film, he elliptically depicted the harsh life of local men who spent most the year with their flocks away from home. Here, De Seta also introduces longstanding elements of banditry and distrust of authority, which cause good, honest people to act in a primitive fashion, thus reinforcing the cyclical pattern of violence. A byproduct of the time De Seta served among the Sardinian peasants, this spare and starkly poetic film is one of the greatest debut features I've ever seen.
Set in the majestic mountains and countryside of Sardinia, this story of the hunt for an unjustly accused shepherd somehow reminded me of Bresson's rural fables Au Hasard Balthazar and Mouchette. There is no false sentiment or syrupy music to manipulate the audience, just an austerely photographed and poetically simple tale cast with non-professional actors which harks back to the neo-realist movement of the '40's...