TSPDT Greatest Films #458 La terra trema (Luchino Visconti, 1948)
Shot in Sicily with authentic villagers, La terra trema presents the story of a family of fishermen. The naturalist take on the story and the reality that the Luchino Visconti wanted to reprensent in this film is sometimes credited as the first Neorealist film. I tend to think that Rome Open City was the first Italian Neorealist film. It was also the beginning of a competition between the two directors Visconti and Roberto Rossellini. Both have directed magnificent films and put their names in the pantheon of Cinema forever. But their films always had their own ways.
La terra trema tells the story of Ntoni's family, opressed by the sellers of their fisheries that make profit on the efforts of the fishermen. Ntoni has seen the world, he was in the army and he plans to get rid of the sellers and own his own business and keep the main part of the profits for his family. He wishes to prosper and get the heart of his the girl he is in love with. His plan gave good results and the family earn money and respect but one day a storm was announced but Ntoni didn't wanted to loss any opportunity to make profit and pay his debts. But his arrogance cost him the boat of his family and all the fishing material.
The story represents how greed and capitalism is a bad thing and how the workers must ally together against the exploiters and found communities to erase the order of the capitalism. The message is broad and even if its told by commom men, it feels forced and demagogic. The communism message that was getting more and more popularity in Italia got its film. The lenght of the film is also a bummer, 160 minutes of screaming non-actors Italians was getting on my nerves too. The message of the film witnesses the thought of the time and has a lack of subtility. Worth a look but not an essential film.