la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione STORIA EN

Cinema


70 Directors for Venice 70

- ERMANNO OLMI
All sections »
 

Biography
Ermanno Olmi, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2008, was born in Bergamo on July 24th 1931, and spent his childhood in the suburban working districts of Milan, and in the farming countryside of Bergamo. At the end of the war, he was hired as an office worker at Edison where in 1951 he organized a film report that documented the construction of the great hydro-electric plants. Between 1953 and 1961 he made about forty documentaries, including Tre fili fino a Milano, Michelino 1aB, Manon finestra 2, Un metro lungo cinque and Grigio (to a text by Pier Paolo Pasolini). His filmography soon crossed paths with the Venice Film Festival: starting in 1953 he participated with many short films and documentaries, in 1959 he came to Venice to present his debut feature-length fiction film Il tempo si è fermato (Time Stood Still, 1959), inspired by his attention to the poetry of the gestures and faces of common people, and in 1961 he won the Critics’ Award and the OCIC prize for the film Il posto. That same year the director founded an independent production company, “22 dicembre”, with Tullio Kezich. In 1965 he returned to Venice Out of Competition with a tribute to the figure of Paul John XXIII, E venne un uomo (A Man Named John), with Rod Steiger and Adolfo Celli. Olmi directed several films focused on labour (such as I fidanzati (The Fiancés), 1963, presented at the Cannes Film Festival, and Un certo giorno (One Fine Day), 1968), films for state television (including I recuperanti (The Scavengers), 1969, based on a subject by Rigoni Stern; Durante l’estate (In the Summertime), 1971; La circostanza (The Circumstance), 1974) and television documentaries dedicated to Italian postwar history. In 1976 he moved with his wife Loredana Detto and his children to the Altipiano di Asiago; some years later he opened “Ipotesi Cinema”, a training center for young filmmakers in Bassano del Grappa. In 1978 L’albero degli zoccoli (The Tree of Wooden Clogs), a film about the life of farmers around Bergamo in the nineteenth century, won the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival. He was back in Venice in 1983 with the documentary Milano 83, in 1987 with Lunga vita alla signora (Long Live the Lady), which won the Silver Lion, and in 1988 with La leggenda del santo bevitore (The Legend of the Holy Drinker), inspired by the short story by Joseph Roth, for which he won the Golden Lion. In the 1990’s, his presence at the Venice Film Festival was constant: in 1993 he presented Il segreto del bosco vecchio (The Secret of the Old Woods) inspired by a story by Buzzati, the following year Genesis. La creazione e il diluvio (Genesis: The Creation and the Flood), both Out of Competition, in 1999 Il denaro non esiste in the section Nuovi Territori. His next film Il mestiere delle armi (The Profession of Arms, 2001) was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Other recent and important titles in his filmography include Cantando dietro i paraventi (Singing Behind Screens, 2003), Tickets (2005), Centochiodi (One Hundred Nails, 2007). After winning the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2008, he returned to Venice Out of Competition in 2011 with the film Il villaggio di cartone (The Cardboard Village).
FILMS PRESENTED IN VENICE:
1958 – Tre fili fino a Milano – 9. Mostra Internazionale del Film Documentario e del Cortometraggio (director)
1958 – Venezia città moderna - 3. Giornata del Film Europeo/ 9. Mostra Internazionale del Film Documentario e del Cortometraggio (director)
1959 – Il tempo si è fermato (Time Stood Still) – Informativa (director)
1960 – Il grande paese d’acciaio - 11. Mostra Internazionale del Film Documentario, Scientifico, Culturale e Ricreativo (director)
1961 – Il posto – Informativa (subject, screenplay, director)
1965 – E venne un uomo – Out of Competition (screenplay, director)
1971 – Durante l’estate (In the Summertime) – (subject, cinematography, screenplay, director)
1983 – Milano 83 – Out of Competition (cinematography, screenplay, director)
1987 – Lunga vita alla signora! (Long Live the Lady!) – In Competition (cinematography, screenplay, director)
1988 – La leggenda del santo bevitore (The Legend of the Holy Drinker) – In Competition (screenplay, director)
1993 – Il segreto del bosco vecchio (The Secret of the Old Woods) – Out of Competition (screenplay, director)
1994 – Genesi. La creazione e il diluvio (Genesis: The Creation and The Flood) – Out of Competition (screenplay, director)
1999 – Il denaro – Nuovi territori LM video (director)
2001 – Un foglio bianco – Controcampo italiano Eventi (actor)
2011 – Il villaggio di cartone (The Cardboard Village) – Out of Competition (screenplay, director)

AWARDS:
1961 – Il posto – Critics’ award and OCIC Prize
1987 – Lunga vita alla signora! (Long Live the Lady!) – Silver Lion
1988 – La leggenda del santo bevitore (The Legend of the Holy Drinker) – Golden Lion for Best Film and Fipresci Award
2008 – Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

JURIES:
1963 – Jury of the Documentary Film Festival


 



70 Directors for Venice 70