on 13 December 2011
The Job (Il Posto) is Ermanno Olmi's 1961 classic film about getting a job. Most of what we see in this movie is pretty ordinary in the sense that there isn't anything sensational happening. The main character, Domenico, is a young man that lives with his parents and younger brother. He hopes to land a job with a large company, but he just needs to pass their tests first. The simple nature of the story is what draws us into the movie, as most of us can relate with looking for work and working for a living.
The tests Domenico must endue include exams both mental and physical. Those that pass these tests are ensured work, so there is a lot of pressure on the applicants. During a lunch break, Domenico meets a young woman named Antonietta. While I wouldn't call their interaction a romance, one might conclude that it is the beginning of one. This detail isn't spelled out very clearly as are many things in this film. The messages in the movie are very subtle and let us decide what we should make of what is going on.
Toward the end of the film, some of what was going on was actually funny, in a dark humor type of way. From the only way an opening in a department occurs is if someone dies to squabbles over who gets to sit in what desk, there are some funny parts to the movie even if they were not intentional. If you ever tried to get an office job or had an office job, the humor may be appreciated, even if we never experienced anything quite as extreme what happens in the movie. I couldn't help but notice that there must be something timeless about office work that makes it possible to appreciate the messages presented in this movie some fifty years later.
on 29 September 2008
If you think cinema is incomplete without roller-coaster thrills, suspense, sex and explosions, think again. Try something different for a change - it might wake you up. Here is a marvelously modest tale about a teenager seeking his first job, bewildered and intimidated by the rituals of the workplace. Although the director's empathy with his cast is clear, this film's main strength stems from its rigorously simple story-telling, leaving the audience free to enjoy the fact that the main pleasure of a tale is in its telling. This film goes far beyond the pedantry of the social realism of its time and the 'story' is transparent and uneventful and may seem almost non-existent, yet this film is so good that it'll get you off your couch and make you want to direct films yourself (that's what it did to me). A masterpiece.