Olmi, Ermanno

(1931-)
   Director and scriptwriter. With a continuing strong attachment to his peasant origins and his rural Catholic background, both of which are amply reflected in his major works, Olmi has come to occupy a unique position within mainstream Italian cinema through a series of films that have been remarkable for their honesty and their profound commitment to validating the ordinary lives and daily experiences of common people.
   Having moved to Milan from his native Bergamo at the end of World War II, Olmi began working for the Edison Volta company for which, from 1953 onward, he produced over 30 educational and scientific documentaries. From this extensive experience came his first feature, Il tempo si e fermato (Time Stood Still, 1959), a slow-paced but intensely moving portrayal of a brief encounter between a veteran watchman and a temporary young recruit at an isolated hydroelectric dam in the mountains of northern Italy. Filmed entirely on snow-bound location and with nonprofessional actors, the film displays an unflinching devotion to documenting the most minute of everyday events without extraneous artificial drama. Olmi's next feature film, Ilposto (The Job, 1961), was a similarly understated account of the Kafkaesque trials of a young man seeking a place in the office of a large and anonymous Milanese company. The film, a penetrating study of modern urban alienation, again acted by nonprofessionals and filmed in the offices of the Edison Volta where Olmi had worked, was awarded the Film Critics Award at the Venice Festival and brought Olmi to worldwide attention. His next film, Ifidanzati (The Fiances, 1962), the story of a young couple forced into temporary separation by a company requirement for the man to move to Sicily, was also an acute study of loneliness and isolation. The distinctive style that Olmi developed in these early works explored a communication of human emotions through a relay of looks and silences rather than words and dramatic gestures.
   Subsequent works such as E venne un uomo (A Man Named John, 1965), a respectful biography of Pope John XXIII, met with a more mixed reception, but Olmi returned to international prominence with L'albero degli zoccoli (The Tree of the Wooden Clogs, 1978). A loving recreation of poor rural life in the peasant communities of Olmi's native Bergamo region in the late 1800s, the film won the Palme d'or at Cannes and a host of other national and international awards. In 1982, together with Mario Brenta and Paolo Valmarana, Olmi founded an alternative film school at Bassano del Grappa. Called Ipotesi Cinema, it was structured more as a communal cooperative than a traditional school, and had the explicit aim of helping younger directors successfully make their first films. After Cammina cammina (Keep Walking, 1983), a genial retelling of the biblical story of the Magi set in rural Lombardy, Olmi retired from filmmaking due to serious illness. He returned in 1987 with Lunga vita alla Signora (Long Live the Lady! 1987), a merciless look at the sclerotic stultification of upper-middle-class rituals, seen through the eyes of a young boy training in the hospitality industry. The film's success at Venice (Silver Lion, 1987) was repeated a year later when La leggenda del santo bevitore (The Legend of the Holy Drinker, 1988), a contemporary adaptation of an early 20th-century novel by Joseph Roth, received the Golden Lion. By contrast, Il Segreto del bosco vecchio (The Secret of the Old Woods, 1993), an animistic fable adapted from a novel by Dino Buzzati, divided critics for its open ecological didacticism and for a style that was pejoratively characterized as "Bambi meets National Geographic."
   However, after extensive work with RAI television, for which he produced Genesi (Genesis, the Creation and the Flood, 1994), an epic retelling of the first seven books of the Bible, Olmi returned to the large screen with the austere but visually stunning Il mestiere delle armi (The Profession of Arms, 2001). A chronicle of the final days of the legendary Renaissance military leader Giovanni delle Bande Nere, it documents with extreme dignity his slow and painful death provoked ignominiously by a newly invented firearm. The implicit antiwar message of Mestiere was echoed in the charming Cantando dietro i paraventi (Singing behind Screens, 2003), a fablelike and highly theatrical adaptation of a 19th-century Chinese poem in which Madame Ching, the wife of a treacherously murdered admiral, comes to lead a pirate band to avenge her husband's death, but eventually, with victory assured, offers her enemies the palm of peace rather than death and defeat. For Olmi, ever the champion of a compassionate humanism, such a pacifist gesture is the only possible response to what has become the ongoing age of terror in the early 21st century.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Olmi, Ermanno — (1931 )    Director and scriptwriter. With a continuing strong attachment to his peasant origins and his rural Catholic background, both of which are amply reflected in his major works, Olmi has come to occupy a unique position within mainstream… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Olmi, Ermanno — • ОЛЬМИ (Olmi) Эрманно (р. 24.7.1931)    итал. режиссёр. Систематич. кинообразования не получил. Работал в миланской электрич. компании Эдисон Вольта , по заказу к рой в 1952 59 снял ок. 40 док. фильмов. В 1959 снял первый п/м худож. ф. Время… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Olmi, Ermanno — ▪ Italian director born July 24, 1931, Treviglio, Bergamo, Italy       Italian motion picture director whose formative work examines life in the business world and whose later films explore religious and social themes.       Olmi attended a… …   Universalium

  • Olmi — (Ermanno) (né en 1931) cinéaste italien: Il Posto (1961), l Arbre aux sabots (1978); la Légende du saint buveur (1987) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ermanno Olmi — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Olmi. Ermanno Olmi Données clés Naissance 24 juillet 1931 (1931 07 24) (80 ans) Bergame Italie Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ermanno Olmi — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ermanno Olmi (Treviglio, Bérgamo, Italia, 24 de julio de 1931) es un director de cine y guionista italiano. Continuador del los principios estéticos y de las aspiraciones sociales y políticas del Neorrealismo… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ermanno Olmi — (* 24. Juli 1931 in Treviglio, Bergamo) ist ein italienischer Filmregisseur, Drehbuchautor und Kameramann. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Werke 2 Filmografie 3 Weblinks …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ermanno Olmi — (born July 24, 1931) is a renowned Italian film director. BiographyOlmi was born in Treviglio, province of Bergamo, Lombardy.Olmi s films fit into the artistic mold of Italian neorealism, though Olmi would argue (and does argue, in an interview… …   Wikipedia

  • Olmi — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Corrado Olmi (* 1926), italienischer Schauspieler Ermanno Olmi (* 1931), italienischer Filmregisseur und Kameramann Renato Olmi (1914–1985), italienischer Fußballspieler Diese Seite …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Olmi — may refer to: People Ermanno Olmi (born 1931), Italian film director Renato Olmi (1914–1985), Italian footballer Places Olmi Cappella, Haute Corse, France This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an …   Wikipedia

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