Festival de Cannes 70: L’Albero degli zoccoli, 1978

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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Portraying a part of history he had a certain longing for, as well as carefully unwrapping the stories of his own descendents, Ermanno Olmi directed and wrote L’Albero degli zoccoli (The Tree with the Wooden Clogs), something of a self-declared interpretation of late 19th century Lombard peasant life in Northern Italy – by non-acting folk no less. Like a museum of a poor farming community, some may believe there’s little interest in strolling around an historical recreation, but the film’s purity and rawness is unavoidably touching and engaging. Amongst the day-to-day routines, the bellowing adults, the inquisitive imaginations of the children, is a rich portrayal of rural family life, a credit to that bygone but important part of Italian history. Chosen ahead of such films as Violette Nozière, Coming Home, Midnight Express, An Unmarried Woman, Olmi walked off with the Palme d’Or, as well as the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

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