Operai, contadini (Workers, Peasants). 2000. Italy/France. Written and directed by Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet. Based on Women of Messina, by Elio Vittorini. With Angela Nugara, Giacinto Di Pascoli, Giampaolo Cassarino, Enrico Achilli, Angela Durantini, Martina Gionfriddo, Andrea Balducci, Gabriella Taddei, Vittorio Vigneri, Aldo Fruttuosi, Rosalba Curatola, Enrico Pelosini. 35mm. In Italian; English subtitles. 123 min.
A peasant tradition of making homemade ricotta cheese on a wood-burning fire becomes an act of resistance in this unforgettable film. Amateur actors from the regional Buti theater, many of them ordinary laborers and farmers, recite or read passages from Elio Vittorini’s Marxist novella Women of Messina, their singularly musical voices ringing out as one in the verdant forest. The story, which Italo Calvino called a “choral narrative,” centers on a group of workers and peasants who rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the Second World War by rebuilding a destroyed village and forming a utopian community.
Incantati. 2002. Italy/France/Germany. Written and directed by Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet. Based on Women of Messina, by Elio Vittorini. With Rosalba Curatola, Aldo Fruttuosi. In Italian; English subtitles. 5 min.