Entirely set and shot in a small village on the east coast of Sicily and using non-professional actors, La terra trema tells the story of a fishing family which attempts to escape from poverty and exploitation by becoming the owner of its own boat.
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It'd ironic that this may be my fave Italian neo-realist film since its by a director whose sensibilities don't really fit the genre and could only be contained within the confines of it for his 1st few films before his operatic style took over. One of Visconti saddest films and one of the best about the degradation of poverty.
Reality as literary adaptation. Polyphony of faces. Desperation filmed in long takes. The camera eye undulating between ethnographic participation and ethnocentric observation. Exploitation in deep focus.
Visconti, though, wasn't a neorealist, really... He just took his skill at capturing life in his particular epic theatrical/operatic way, & applied it (pointedly) to depicting the economy’s oppressed. Subverts his old bourgeois media & the broader film industry; both fiercely sincere and archly, provocatively, defiant. Mostly avoids privileged leftist Romantic (proletarian) Primitivism. Also a sheer directorial feat!
En marge des autres réussites de Luchino Visconti, un drame documentaire d'une extrême richesse humaine et politique, dénonçant avec une discrète sagacité et une pertinente acuité, un système économique toujours d'actualité, stigmatisant ceux qui profitent sans vergogne du travail des autres, avec l'outrageuse bénédiction muette des politiques.
A medio camino entre el documental y la ficción, La Terra Trema retrata la injusticia a la que se ven sometidos los pescadores de Acitrezza en su día a día y la rebelión que uno de ellos lleva a cabo para romper con el monopolio de los comerciantes del pueblo. Lamentablemente la película peca de maniquea y panfletaria, reiterando una y otra vez sus temas y poniendo en negritas su "mensaje".
Perhaps the single most enduring film of the neorealist era and without a doubt its most ambiguous one. Even though it answers to many of the standard rules we've come to associate with this style such as non-actors and on site filming, it is also very carefully planned. Visconti shows his vast knowledge of cinematography in this masterpiece. Look how he replaces decoupage with framing, it's a true masterclass.
Sometimes I just feel cinema should´ve stopped right there - at the Neo-realists - and we´d have to watch them all over again until we get it. Raw, un-idealized compassion towards the unfortunate ones at its finest.