La Terra trema (1948)
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Critic Reviews for La Terra trema
It's as if Sicily has existed in a bubble, unchanging for a century as sons take over the boats of their fathers and children apprentice at their feet, taking their place in "a hopeless slavery."
Luchino Visconti's epic account of peasant defiance inflamed and squelched, where to live in poverty is to drown on dry land
It's a rough slog... but La terra trema shows that Visconti, with just his second feature, was already a master of the medium.
Visconti used real Sicilian fishermen as non-actors expressing their circumstances and beliefs. The effect is a powerful portrait of graceful human dignity caught between the cruelty of the sea and opportunistic greed.
Audience Reviews for La Terra trema
A sadly misguided film that deserves more credit for what it wants to say than how it does it, since it is marred by stiff, unnatural performances by non-actors (like watching a school play), a heavy-handed dialogue, a redundant narration and a formal rigor incompatible with the type of neorealist docufiction that Visconti wants to make.
It's a rather long and arduous film but it provides great insight into the poor lives of the fishermen. It's so evocative, it made me wanna join Marxism. Although, I am not sure what that even means.
The photography is very impressive and the story held my interest. But there are some problems. The most prominent is the use of voice-over narration, which is scattered liberally throughout the film and adds absolutely nothing. I also didn't buy into Visconti's socialist message. Yes, the deck is stacked against 'Ntoni and his family, but he could have made it if he hadn't made a bone-headed mistake. And the movie has a frustrating way of dropping plot threads when they're no longer useful.
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