The Tree of Wooden Clogs


Review: Follows four peasant families working for a landowner on a Northern Italian farm at the end of the 19th century.
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Actors: Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi and Omar Brignoli
Year: 1978
Genre: Art House, International, Drama and History
Conclusion: 4/5
The original title for this film is L’albero degli zoccoli. This film was inspired by stories that were told to Ermanno Olmi by his grandmother. This title refers to a tree which has been cut down by a father for his son to make a pair of clogs for when he goes to school. This is an act of kindness that has a dreadful cost to it. The director used non-professional actors speaking in what they called the Bergamasque dialect. Watching this film the director brings us into a tough and unforgiving world of births, deaths and weddings. There are some scenes in this that I did find quite disturbing and harrowing. Director Mike Leigh has hailed Ermanno Olmi as quite simply ‘a genius’ and this is one of Mike Leigh’s favourite films. This is also one of Al Pacino’s favourite movies of all time. At the Bafta Awards in 1980 this won the Flaherty Documentary Award. At the Cannes Film Festival in 1978, Ermanno Olmi won the Palme d’Or Award and also the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Award. 


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