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|I Fidanzati - Criterion Collection|
Actors: Carlo Cabrini, Anna Canzi
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Ermanno Olmi's masterful second feature is the tender story of a young Milanese couple whose strained relationship is tested when the man accepts a new job in Sicily. With the separation come loneliness, nostalgia, and, pe... more »
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James Bunnelle | 08/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had never even heard of Olmi before getting this film, which is odd since I've been exposed to many other italian postwar directors. Therefore, I FIDANZATI (The Fiances, or The Engaged) came as a complete surprise to me. The storyline, sometimes slow and wonderfully hypnotic in places, centers around the life of a construction worker who takes a job in Sicily and moves away from his fiance in northern Italy. It's the classic romantic "abscence makes the heart grow fonder" storyline that is usually trite and banal. But somehow, amazingly, Olmi manages to pull it off, mainly through the great performances of the two leads and the brilliant editing towards the film's conclusion, where they read letters and thoughts to one another in a way that distorts past, present, and future. Highly recommended, as is Criterion's new editon of Olmi's IL POSTO."
Beautiful and thought-provoking.
Robert Bezimienny | Sydney, NSW Australia | 05/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Criterion provide an 18 minute interview with Olmi, recorded in 2002, and the articulate and charming director provides insight into the genesis of his film - the industrialisation and economic boom in Italy in the 60's saw an upheaval in traditional customs and family life, especially in the poor agricultural areas, such as much of Sicily (where part of the film is set); in the story this backdrop is counterpoised against the personal changes wrought upon a couple, separated by these circumstances. They begin in stubborn silence and end in a heart-warming blossoming of articulate expression of their emotions and aspirations - the change sweeping through the nation has had its effect upon them.
Olmi speaks of his interest in presenting time in a novel way; he hopes to dissolve the distinctions between past, present and future, and segue from one to the next seamlessly, expecting the audience to intelligently follow his cues, and in so doing suggest the internal flow of time for his protagonist. I think he succeeds, and the film becomes, if anything, more realistic through this fluid depiction of time.
The cinematography is wonderful, whether in its intimacy, or in its handling of spectacular views of industrial plants. So too the pacing of scenes, the opening in particular being a joy of accumulated surprises, the tension building until the viewer is as eager for the musicians to play as the would-be dancers upon the screen.
Again in the interview, his collaborator speaks of Olmi's technical mastery of all aspects of film-making, his complete and utter disregard of commercial success, and his adherence to a policy of being honest with himself. He made documentaries of the working people, and early on committed himself to the production of quality informative material for television, even when the latter meant interfering with, the more lucrative, ventures into feature film.
So here is a work of art from a master film-maker - utterly engaging and formally accomplished, with insight into the social situation of his country at the time, told through the guise of a satisfying traditional love story. Criterion provide their customary perfect transfer and the mentioned bonus material. Every bit as good as, and very much a companion piece to Il Posto, I Fidanzati is something of a neglected masterpiece."
Antonio Giusto | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 05/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ermano is one of my favorite Italian directors. The whole movie is really great. Ermano Olmi is one of the few directors that can take a plain story and make it more interesting than the biggest hollywood film. Just as long as you don't think like the average big hollywood production viewer. I love how this film starts and I love how it ends. Some incredible cinematography. Especially with the scene in the beginning where the main character is walking through the factory with the tarantella music playing in the background. Another great part of the film is the street party in Sicily. It amazes me how Ermano Olmi was able to direct the scenes so perfectly with such a tight large drunken crowd."