In turn-of-the-twentieth-century Turin, an accident in a textile factory incites workers to stage a walkout. But it’s not until they receive unexpected aid from a traveling professor (Marcello Mastroianni) that they find a voice, unite, and stand up for themselves. This historical drama by Mario Monicelli is a beautiful and moving ode to the power of the people, brimming with humor and honesty. The Organizer (I compagni) features engaging, naturalistic performances; cinematography by the great Giuseppe Rotunno; and a multilayered, Oscar-nominated screenplay, by Monicelli, Agenore Incrocci, and Furio Scarpelli. –The Criterion Collection
Although associated with the 1950s period of commedia all’italiana, Mario Monicelli’s career hearkened back to Italy’s silent era; being in fact a predecessor to Italian neorealism rather than succeeding it. Born in Tuscany in 1915, Monicelli gravitated to cinema early in his life, entering the film business in the early-30s. His first films were co-directed with Alberto Mondadori, most notably a silent film adaptation of Ferenc Molnar’s The Paul Street Boys which won an award at the Venice Film Festival. Monicelli alternated as an assistant director and writer for other film-makers along with his own projects. His first solo feature was Summer Rain, made in 1937. He first achieved renown for a series of films starring Italy’s famous comic Totò. Initially co-directed with Stefano ‘Steno’ Vanzina, Monicelli went solo with Totò e Carolina.
His first major film also marked his first collaboration with the screenwriting duo, Age & Scarpelli. I soliti ignoti (1958), better known… read more
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