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Coming from a provincial family, Domenico (Sandro Panseri) arrives in Milan in search of a job. After undergoing a series of absurd physical and psychological tests, he is given the position of a lowly clerk in a corporate firm. Also applying for a job is Antonietta (Loredana Detto), who becomes the object of shy Domenico's infatuation. However he finds little time to pursue any possible future with her upon starting his new job. The pressures and working hours completely take over his private life. Domenico, a newcomer in Milan, becomes lonely as a result of these changes and is filled with anxiety over his future.
Il Posto was Ermanno Olmi's first major work and its achievement was immediately heralded by a prize at the Venice Film Festival. Drawing influences from neorealism as well as a background making industrial short documentaries, Olmi created a heightened approach to depicting reality. A miniaturist devoted to the small and seemingly innocuous moments of a man's life, Olmi's intimate vision would subsequently influence the works of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami.