Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Il cammino della speranza / The Way of Hope

Toiveitten tie / Förhoppningarnas väg. IT © 1950 Lux Films. P: Luigi Rovere. D: Pietro Germi. SC: Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli - story: Federico Fellini, Pietro Germi, Tullio Pinelli - based on the novel Cuori negli abissi by Nino Di Maria. DP: Leonida Barboni. PD: Luigi Ricci. Makeup: Attilio Camarda. M: Carlo Rustichelli. Theme song "Vitti 'na crozza": a Sicilian folk song from the 19th century. The main waltz theme from "Valurile Dunării" ("Donauwellen" / "Waves Of The Danube" / "Anniversary Song" / "Häämuistojen valssi") by Iosif Ivanovici. S: Mario Amari. ED: Rolando Benedetti. C: Raf Vallone (Saro Cammarata), Elena Varzi (Barbara Spadaro), Saro Urzí (Ciccio Ingaggiatore), Saro Arcidiacono (accountant), Franco Navarra (Vanni), Liliana Lattanzi (Rosa), Mirella Ciotti (Lorenza), Carmela Trovato (Cirmena), Chicco Coluzzi (Buda), Angelina Scaldaferri (Diodata). Helsinki premiere: 4.12.1953 Rea, released by Kelo-Filmi. Tv: 10.10.1993 YLE TV1, 10.3.2005 YLE TV2. VET 38479 – K16 – original length 2931 m - print viewed 102 min. A print from Cineteca Nazionale (Roma) of the 1999 restoration, screened with e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio, at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Italian Emigration), 20 Nov 2012.

One of the last great works of the original wave of neorealism. It looks like it's inspired by La terra trema: the stark compositions, the bold mise-en-scène, the grandeur in misery, the pride undefeated in poverty, the spirit strong enough to conquer all obstacles.

It starts in the bottom of a Sicilian sulphur mine where miners are on strike, but it's no use, the mine is being closed down and the people of the community are about to lose the source of their livelihood.

An enterprising recruiter incites many of them to join him to France. He collects 20.000 lire from everybody in advance, but when there is trouble at the railway station he vanishes with the money and leaves the group in trouble. Part of them decide to return to Sicily, the rest continue the journey on their own. They get a job at a farm, but it turns out that there is a general strike there, and they have unwittingly become strike-breakers. Finally they mount the Alps, endure snowstorms and cross the French border. The border patrols of both Italy and France catch them, but after exchanging some looks and smiles they ski away.

It's an exciting journey, full of unabashed sentiment, bordering on the opera and the melodrama, yet the rich social texture is overwhelming, there is a feeling of urgent social truth in the epic scenes at the coal mine, at the railway station, and at the farm where the emigrants face the strike-breakers.

The cinematography by Leonida Barboni is exciting, statuesque, inviting comparison with the work of G.R. Aldo in La terra trema, Gabriel Figueroa in certain Mexican films, and his model, Eduard Tisse in ¡Que viva Mexico!

Carlo Rustichelli was a composer favoured by Pietro Germi, and his warm, passionate, and operatic score is an important contribution to the story of the desperate journey. The highly singable theme tune "Vitti 'na crozza" is a Sicilian folk song from the 19th century. At the farm there is an evening waltz scene where the best-known melody from Ivanovici's "Donauwellen" is played.

The visual quality is often very good in this restoration that may be based on partly difficult and duped sources.

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