Like a bunch of rags thrown down on the altar steps. It is the old priest, who for many years has been parish priest in a church which is no longer of any use and has been closed. The workers are taking the pictures of Saints off the walls and carrying away the most precious sacred objects. A long mechanical arm detaches the large life-size crucifix hanging high up and brings it down to earth like a vanquished foe. There’s no point in opposing all this: nothing can stop the course of events that the rise of new situations imposes on history. However, faced with the ruin of his church, the priest feels the emergence of a new perception that sustains him. It seems to him that only now do those walls, stripped bare, reveal a sacredness that before was concealed. This moment of suffering gives rise to a resurrection of a new spirit in his priestly mission. Not the Church of liturgical ceremonies and golden altars but the House of God in which the poor and derelicts can find refuge and comfort. It is they who will be the true ornaments of the Temple of the Lord. And the life of the old priest too will find new paths to charity, brotherhood and even the courage to undertake those acts of love requiring the supreme sacrifice, as the ultimate significance of his consecration as priest. A time is beginning in which the world needs new and just men to unmask the ambiguity of words with the objectivity of deeds. –Venice Film Festival
The death of his father during the Second World War led Ermanno Olmi to seek work at an early age. From the age of 18, he worked as a factory clerk, a position he would occupy for nearly ten years. Ironically, factory life would also enable Olmi to discover his true vocation when he became involved in industrial film production for the Edison-Volta company. From 1953 to 1961, Olmi was involved in the making of at least forty documentary shorts. His first feature Time Stood Still was initially commissioned as a short documentary on a hydroelectric dam built in the Italian Alps. The resulting film was an unusual two-character “chamber piece”; the chamber being a cabin in the snow-bound Alps which housed a middle-aged watchman and a younger man who joins him as a temporary replacement.
Already visible is Olmi’s detailed minimalism, a style which evokes the richness of the small forgotten moments of everyday life. His first international success, and most influential film, was his second… read more
HELP! I have only seen isolated scenes of this film! Is it on DVD?? Olmi is a compassionate director whose spirits looms large and causes you to truly ponder and feel even if you don’t want to. Like Gerima or Bresson or Cassavetes. Olmi moves me like great music -- EVERY time, in every moment in every film. Even the bad ones. Cause his “bad” are most competent directors “great.”
Venice! The Biennale! Retrospectives, new films, festival turmoil, art that’s not cinema—all this and more!
For some, The Cardboard Village is a venerable work from an old master — but the trades are having none it.