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The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1979)

Luigi Ornaghi , Francesca Moriggi , Ermanno Olmi  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi, Omar Brignoli, Antonio Ferrari, Teresa Brescianini
  • Directors: Ermanno Olmi
  • Writers: Ermanno Olmi
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 2004
  • Run Time: 186 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Z935W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,625 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Tree of Wooden Clogs" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and it is still my most favorite December 13, 2005
I saw this movie 1979 when I was fourteen back in the small mountain village where I grew up near the Swiss-Italian border. I have seen many movies since, came to live and love a new country and people, yet L'Albero degli Zoccoli remains my favorite. In a world of x-boxes, consumer spending indices and ADD, it is sobering to sit down once in a while and learn about other cultures; you may as well transplant this story in any corner of the world as it holds true across cultures and continents.

Thomas Schaer, Veterinarian & Organic Farmer
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This moving film follows a year in the lives of four Italian tenant-farming families in the late nineteenth century.

Although it is a drama, the film has a strong documentary or ethnographic flavor, portraying the lives of the families, the seasons, the farm animals, country and town, courtship and marriage, and above all faith. The four families live in the same compound, and the plot revolves around events within the compound and the village -- enrolling a boy at school, the sickness of a family's cow, boy meets girl, an adoption, planting tomatoes, the illegal felling of a tree, the difficult circumstances of a widow, and an eviction.

Director Ermanno Olmi drew the members of the cast from Lombardy farm families. The effect of the localized events and the non-professional cast is to pull the viewer into the world of these families in a way few films do. The length of the film and its "slow" pace have a parallel effect -- to draw the viewer out of the fast pace of our modern life back into a time when lives moved to different and slower rhythms.

Many will wince, as I did, at the scene when a large hog is slaughtered. The pork that comes to us in wrapped supermarket packages distances us from the reality of farms and animals, and the film makes us confront it. (All of our great-grandparents knew the reality, and they might be surprised by how the scene discomforts their own descendants.) The scene shows Olmi's evenhandedness. Nostalgia for the past is balanced with a clear look at its hardships and cruelties.

The film's large theme is to show how the lives of these ordinary people were inseparable from their Catholic faith, evident in their prayers, conversations, and responses to their homely crises.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminded me of the stories my father told November 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I bought this video after the death of my father who was born into a very poor family in northeastern Italy. Watching it was a poignant experience. The hardships of peasant life at the turn of the century are realistically portrayed. Also portrayed are the strong bonds of faith and love that unite a family whatever hardships life may bring. One of the story strands follows a pair of young sweethearts who have become parents in an unusual way by the end of the film. It is enchanting. All in all a moving true to life film that brought tears and smiles as it evoked the memory of the stories Papa told us. American audiences may be impatient with length and slow pace of this film, but it is well worth the time spent.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History in the making October 3, 2004
Yes it is slow, but so was our heritage, not as Italians, but as human beings. It needs to be slow to develop the story of why sharecroppers left families for America, the faith that they were raised with, how interwoven it was in their lives, and how a child is and has been everything to a parent. Not for the testorone driven Arnold mindless, but was one of the best movie going experiences I have ever seen. I love looking at a movie, walking out hours later, and feel as if I really learned something about the people, a place, and the time that they lived in. This movie was breath taking. Yes it is slow, you have to earn it, but breath taking nevertheless.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great film.....useless release April 8, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Tree of wooden clogs is a wonderful, raw portrayal of rural peasant life in turn of the century (i.e. 19th-20th Century) Italy, magnificiently portraying the joys, sorrows , trepidations, faith and charity of a group of tenant farmers. It also very beautifully portrays the hope that these people have for a better tomorrow. It is a time of hardships and yet a time of great love for the less fortunate.......a much better time, just because of the latter. It is composed entirely of a cast of non-actors. A great film on realism.

Be forewarned ye vegetarians and lovers of animals. There is a very ( emphasis on VERY) descriptive slaughter of a pig and a duck...... (put me off bacon for a couple of days!).Not something one should let children see....!

However the review of two stars is not for the film itself but for the banal subtitles.....too few and far between that a chunk of the conversation is lost.Eventhough the producers might have chosen to omit certain segments of the dialogue, I genuinely feel that the charchter of the film is inevitably, to a certain degree, lost as well.

Secondly the DVD is PAL format. So unless you have a multi-system player, one can only use one's computer to watch this film. Why is a PAL system film being sold in North America? Search me...... and why is it region 0 (all regions)?

Two thumbs up for the fim....two thumbs down for this DVD release.........
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate listing!!!
I ordered this movie, along with many other Winners at Cannes. The description says it is formatted PAL for all regions, i.e., it will play in all DVD players. Not true! Read more
Published 2 months ago by T. Simonson
4.0 out of 5 stars A realistic story of Italian life before the War
This story gave me a realistic view of the kind of life my grandparents lived and all the hardships they encountered. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paula Trevisan
3.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece? Maybe no.
For me a masterpiece is a film to which I like to return once in a while ("Fanny and Alexander", "Persona", "Stalker", "Paris, Texas", "Death in... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Yoselovich Boris
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best movie ever
This is a wonderful movie; it depicts life in Northern Italy under difficult circumstances, back when people's lives were controlled by a lot of things. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Margaret Diane Dube
5.0 out of 5 stars Really shows you why many immigrated to this country.
This is why so many Italians came to this country about 100 years ago. Now that most are mainstream, we should reflect on why others want so badly to come and live in this country.
Published 16 months ago by Lucille A.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tree of the Wooden Clogs
Ermanno Olmi's The Tree of the Wooden Clogs captures a slice of rural life in turn of the century Italy in all its disarming simplicity. Read more
Published 17 months ago by off the tropic
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great movies
This movie has no famous actors - and when you watch it you are not even sure there really is even a script - but rather it looks like simply a glimpse of life in Italy over 100... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Chesterton Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Toil Captured by "Tree"
This film is not for every one, but should be, especially Americans. An example of a family taking little or nothing to make life. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Yugen F. Rashad
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Perfection
This movie depicts peasant life in rural Italy at the end of the nineteenth century. I was fortunate enough to live among immigrants of that era, and found this movie accurately... Read more
Published on June 19, 2011 by Blue Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars An Italian Classic
One of the many great Italian films over the years. A daily journey of a rural, peasant family in the north of Italia. Read more
Published on April 20, 2011 by Moose
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