Life's Work: The Cinema of Ermanno Olmi

9/25/09 to 10/30/09

In slyly humorous, deeply humanist films like Il posto or the majestic Tree of Wooden Clogs, Italian director Ermanno Olmi has placed the realities and rhythms of work at the heart of his cinema. PFA's celebration of this underrated, understated director includes the Bay Area premiere of the new Slow Food documentary Terra Madre.

Read full description
  • The Tree of Wooden Clogs, September 27, October 17

  • Upcoming
  • Past
  • Past

Past Films

  • One Hundred Nails

    • Friday, October 30 6:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 2007). Olmi's final narrative feature pits religious orthodoxy and book knowledge against spiritual humanism and direct experience as a philosophy professor abandons academic life and moves to live among the people. (92 mins)

  • Terra Madre

    • Wednesday, October 28 7:00 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 2009). See September 25. (78 mins)

  • The Secret of the Old Woods

    • Sunday, October 25 5:15 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1993). A retired colonel wants to cut down a forest, but the forest has other ideas in this eco-friendly fable, part children's film, part industrial critique. (140 mins)

  • The Legend of the Holy Drinker

    • Saturday, October 24 8:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1988). Rutger Hauer is a luckless drunkard in Paris whose life changes after a chance encounter in Olmi's mystical look at redemption and spirituality, based on a Joseph Roth story. “Humanity breathes through this moving film.”-Dilys Powell (128 mins)

  • Long Live the Lady!

    • Friday, October 23 8:35 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1987). Six young hotel-management graduates prepare a very unusual feast for an even more unusual clientele in this food-centric satire of bourgeois hypocrisy and delusions. ”Irresistibly funny. . . an incredibly rich tapestry of human behavior.”-Tom Milne (105 mins)

  • The Tree of Wooden Clogs

    • Saturday, October 17 7:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1978). See September 27. (186 mins)

  • The Circumstance

    • Friday, October 16 8:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1974). An upper-class Milanese family is brought together through a series of circumstances, some tragic, others bizarre, in Olmi's “most complex, modernist film.”-Film Society of Lincoln Center (97 mins)

  • The Scavengers

    • Sunday, October 11 5:20 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1970). Two desperate men-one older, one much younger-comb the rugged Dolomite Mountains for iron scraps in postwar Italy. “Deceptively simple, it speaks volumes about our rat-race civilization in its vivid, quizzically funny way.“-Time Out (94 mins)

  • One Fine Day

    • Saturday, October 10 6:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1969). A middle-class advertising executive suffers a crisis of conscience after a tragic accident in Olmi's surprisingly tender portrait of bourgeois comforts, alternately neorealist and ultra-modernist. “Superbly disturbing and beautiful.”-Michael Armitage (102 mins)

  • Cammina Cammina

    • Sunday, October 4 6:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1983). Olmi's retelling of the Journey of the Magi reconfirms the magic of his cinema. “Pure delight . . . feather light and full of life.”-Film Comment (165 mins)

  • Il posto

    • Saturday, October 3 6:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1961). Olmi's humane, funny, and heartbreaking portrait of a young man embarking on his first job in Milan captures the alienation and regimentation of the working world. (93 mins)

  • The Fiancés

    • Saturday, October 3 8:25 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1963). A young couple's love is tested, first by the man's job in a massive Milanese factory, then by his transfer to Sicily. “Achieves a poetry as intense, as concentrated, as personal as a Japanese haiku.”-Sunday Times (76 mins)

  • The Tree of Wooden Clogs

    • Sunday, September 27 5:00 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1978). Olmi won the Palme d'Or (and nearly swept the Cannes festival's other prizes) with this intimate epic of life, love, and work among three peasant families in turn-of-the-century Italy, a film of majesty made from minutiae. “A fully articulated work of cinematic art.”-Andrew Sarris (186 mins)

  • Time Stood Still

    • Friday, September 25 6:30 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 1959). An isolated dam in the snowcapped Italian Alps is the spectacular setting for this semi-documentary look at the relationship between two workers, young and old. “Olmi's inconspicuous debut was an event of quite extraordinary importance for the future.”-Mira Liehm (80 mins)

  • Terra Madre

    • Friday, September 25 8:15 pm

    Ermanno Olmi (Italy, 2009). A riveting look inside the famed Terra Madre conference, centerpiece of the Slow Food movement. “At times rousing, at other times contemplative, this beautiful documentary addresses the greatest issues of our time.”-Hollywood Reporter (78 mins)