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THE CIRCUMSTANCE

Italy, 1974 (MIFF 1975)

Director: Ermanno Olmi

Ermanno Olmi wrote, edited and directed this film about the problems of an upper middle class family. The husband, who is middie-aged. appears likely to lose his job as the company he works for streamlines its operations. His wife also works, and the family runs a cattle farm. The teenage daughter is indifferent to her mother, and preoccupied with her own first love affairs. One of the two sons has withdrawn into a private world of tinkering with electronics. He is hoping to construct a new kind of robot.

The mother compensates for lack of contact within her own family by taking an excessive interest in the victim of a road accident she witnesses. She takes a young boy to the hospital and cares for him. But she realizes, when his parents come to take him away, that the episode is finished and the family will continue to drift apart.

'It is a haunting, elliptical fragmented work, critical of the haute bourgeoisie of Northern Italy... despite the simple surface, it is a dense ironic work.' Film

'This is not so much a critique of the institution of family as a case history, and the diagnosis is gloomy but realisitc. The death of the family, Oimi seems to be suggesting, is both inevitable and painful.' David Wilson, Sight and Sound,/p>

FIPRESCI Prize, Locarno

See also...

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IL POSTO

Italy, 1961
Made by a young Italian director with a cast of non-professional actors, Il Posto concentrates on revealing its characters during a significant period of their lives. The story is very simple. Aged s… More »

DURING THE SUMMER

Italy, 1970
As in all his films, Olmi's interest is in ordinary people, and he observes them with equal sympathy and understanding. ... In During the Summer, the central character is a professor (we are not told… More »

IL POSTO

Italy, 1961
Made by a young Italian director with a cast of non-professional actors. // Posto concentrates on revealing its characters during a significant period of their lives. The story is very simple. Aged s… More »

THE ENGAGEMENT

Italy, 1963
The film opens with solemn couples ambling into a shabby suburban dance-hall near Milan. A blind pianist and an accordionist arrive, tune up, and the evening begins. Giovanni, a recently qualified we… More »

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