DVD region 0. Mr Bongo Films.
known as The Sound of Trumpets, Ermanno Olmi's
much-regarded Italian movie from 1961 will probably disappoint
most viewers who come to it with expectations based on its reputation.
While by no means a bad film, this is slight and somewhat unsatisfactory
for the most part.
The story follows Domenico (Sandro Panseri) as he heads out of
his small town – the sort of run down place that you’d
only find in Italian films of the period – and head to Milan,
where he applies for a job with an unnamed conglomerate. During
the bizarre tests that applicants are made to undergo, he meets
a pretty fellow job seeker Antonietta (Lorenada Detto) with who
he a mildly flirtatious, somewhat awkward afternoon. The pair
of them are hired, Antonietta in the typing pool and Domenico
temporarily working as a messenger boy until an admin position
While touted by some as a comedy, Il Posto is
decidedly short on belly laughs – or any other sort of laugh
for that matter. Where it works as a satire is in the portrayal
– exaggerated but all too convincing – of office life,
a monotonous, seemingly pointless existence. It’s likely
to be an alien view of work for most people today, but anyone
who is stuck in a dull job that bores them silly will still be
able to relate.
much to admire in the film, mostly little touches – the
convincing burgeoning relationship between the two, the social
awkwardness, the soulless world of corporate life. Panseri is
excellent as the shy, seemingly terrified young man forced out
into the working world (he has had to abandon his education and
career dreams to help his family pay the bills), and Detto seems
sweet enough for anyone to understand why he’d fall for
But the film is crushingly slow to begin with and frustratingly
fizzles out in the final act – without giving away too much,
let’s just say that the direction the film seems to be heading
in fails to materialise. In the tradition of neo-realism, maybe
that’s fair enough – this is a slice of life and you
have to fill in the gaps yourself. But that doesn’t make
it any more entertaining.
I certainly didn’t dislike this film; but it failed to live
up to its weighty reputation. Worthwhile for fans of early Sixties
Italian cinema, certainly, but likely to be a struggle for the
less committed viewer.
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