Ermanno Olmi - biography - The Neorealism: we ware not just bicycle thieves Triworld Cinema
Ermanno Olmi
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Ermanno Olmi biography

Born in Bergamo in 1931 Ermanno Olmi is a director, screenwriter, editor, cinematographer, film producer and scenographer.

He attends a science high school and took courses in acting at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Milan. He learns filmmaking while employed at Edisonvolta, a major Milanese electric company. There he directs more than 40 short informational films and company documentaries from 1952 to 1961, including "La diga sul ghiacciaio" (1953), "Tre fili fino a Milano" (1958) e "Un metro è lungo cinque" (1961).

Those years not only allow Olmi to develop his natural resourcefulness and talent behind a camera, but lay the groundwork of the filmography that would focus on man seen inside structures created by man himself.

His first feature-length film was "Time Stood Still" ("Il tempo si è fermato", 1959), followed by "Il posto" (1961), a story of two young men dealing with their first job. This attention to the everyday details comes through again in his next film "The fiancès" ("I fidanzati", 1963), followed by a the most intimate biography of Pope John XXIII, "A man named John" ("E venne un uomo", 1965). In 1977 Olmi signs his masterpiece: "The Tree of Wooden Clogs" ("L'albero degli zoccoli", 1978). Set in a farmhouse near Bergamo, at the end of the last century, inhabited by five farming families becomes a great success in Italy and worldwide, and earns the Palme d'Or at Cannes, the César for Best Foreign Film, the Silver Ribbon for best cinematography, direction, screenplay and original story. Olmi’s films of the 1980s include "Keep Walking" ("Cammina cammina", 1983), an allegory based on the legend of the Magi; "Milano ’83" (1983), a documentary tribute to the city he often uses as the setting for his movies, which wins the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Olmi directs his two best films in the mid ’80s: "Lunga vita alla signora!" ("Long Live the Lady!", 1987), which wins the Fipresci Prize and a Golden Lion. He gets the following year, another Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival thanks to "The Legend of the Holy Drinker" ("La leggenda del santo bevitore", 1988), based on the story of Joseph Roth.

Still a remarkable success with "The Profession of arms" ("Il mestiere delle armi", 2001), biography of Giovanni delle Bande Nere, this movie wins four David of Donatello Award (best director, film, production and screenplay). The pacifist "Singing Behind Screens" (2003) wins the Silver Ribbon for the best subject, while in 2005, with the choral "Tickets" (made with Loach and Kiarostami) confirmes his shift to a world wide gaze, no longer focused on purely italian stories.

Ermanno Olmi - biography
The Neorealism: we were not just bicycle thieves
Triworld Cinema