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(aka "L'Albero degli zoccoli" or "The Tree with the Wooden Clogs" or "L'Arbre aux sabots")

directed by Ermanno Olmi
Italy 1978

 

Ermanno Olmi's 185-minute study of peasant life in turn-of-the-century Italy (1978) is rich with incident but thin on ideas--less an advance over the standard film festival peasant epic than an unusually accomplished rendition of it. The characters and situations are oppressively familiar; Olmi's wide-eyed, wondering point of view helps to freshen them, but not enough to overcome completely the Marxist sentimentalism inherent in the concept. I found the film most successful when it left its tenant farm setting for a lovely, lyrical boat trip to the big city, the one moment of expansiveness in Olmi's otherwise hermetic narration. Still, the film is consistently engaging and suggestive, though it never explodes into the masterpiece it's clearly intended to be.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader located HERE

A painterly and sensual immersion in late nineteenth-century Italian farm life, Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs lovingly focuses on four families working for one landowner on an isolated estate in the province of Bergamo. Filming on an abandoned farm for four months, Olmi adapted neorealist techniques to tell his story, enlisting local people to live as their own ancestors had, speaking in their native dialect on locations with which they were intimately familiar. Through the cycle of seasons, of backbreaking labor, love and marriage, birth and death, faith and superstition, Olmi naturalistically evokes an existence very close to nature, celebrating its beauty, humor, and simplicity but also acknowledging the feudal cruelty that governs it. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1978, The Tree of Wooden Clogs is intimate in scale but epic in scope—a towering, heart-stirring work of humanist filmmaking.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 1978 - France

Reviews                                                        More Reviews                                                 DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL vs. Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Marshall Deutelbaum, Mark Nigara and Gregory Meshman for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

  

Distribution

Nouveaux Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Italian Instituto Luce

Region 2 - PAL

Koch Lorber
Region 0 - NTSC
Criterion Collection - Spine # 854 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:59:00 (4% PAL Speedup) 2:59:00 (4% PAL Speedup) 2:58:12 3:07:05.422
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,289,071,362 bytes

Feature: 37,643,765,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Italian Mono (Dub) Italian 5.1 (Dub), Italian DTS (Dub), Italian Mono (Dub), Original Italian (Bergamasco) (Mono)

Original Italian (Bergamasco) (Dolby Digital 2.0)

LPCM Audio Bergamasque 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English (non-removable) English, Italian, French, Spanish, Original Italian (Bergamasco), none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Nouveaux Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction to the Film
• Photo Gallery
• Filmographies and Biographies
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: February 11th, 2002

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Italian Instituto Luce

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Technical Commentary
• Photo Gallery
• Filmographies and Biographies
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: 2003

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer
• Photo Gallery
• Trailers for 6 other movies available from Koch Lorber
 

DVD Release Date: July 13th, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1.33:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,289,071,362 bytes

Feature: 37,643,765,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

Alternate Italian-language soundtrack
• New introduction by filmmaker Mike Leigh (7:01)
• Ermanno Olmi: The Roots of the Tree, an hour-long 1981 episode of The South Bank Show, featuring an interview with Olmi on the film and a visit to the farm where it was shot (52:31)
• New program featuring cast and crew discussing the film at the Cinema Ritrovato film festival in Bologna, Italy, in 2016 (34:15)
• Interviews with Olmi from 1978 (7:08) and 2008 (32:31)
• Trailer (4:25)
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Deborah Young

Blu-ray Release Date:
February 14th, 2017
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 36

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - January 2017: Criterion's transfer is cited as being from a "New 4K restoration, created in collaboration with The Film Foundation at L’Immagine Ritrovata and supervised by director Ermanno Olmi". Like some of the SD renderings it can look a bit green in spots, and blue but this 1080P grandly rises above the lesser format with a dynamic, earthy, flat presentation that only adds further to the film's unforgettable impact. I see some grain - the overall image is, authentically, darker, no gloss and certainly not crisp. Has it been Ritrovata'ed? It remains a beautiful film... 

Criterion offer a linear PCM mono track in the original Bergamasque dialect (24-bit) and the option of an alternate, lossy, Italian track in simple Dolby. There is no score but plenty of Bach in the film with a little Mozart. It sounds delightfully flat but rich. The Blu-ray disc is coded for region 'A'.

Supplements start with a new, 7-minute long, introduction by filmmaker Mike Leigh on The Tree of Wooden Clogs and his insights and appreciation is always interesting. Ermanno Olmi: The Roots of the Tree, is a 52-minute-long 1981 episode of The South Bank Show, featuring an interview with Olmi on the film and a visit to the tenant farm where The Tree of Wooden Clogs was shot. There is a new, 34-minute, program featuring cast and crew discussing the film at the Cinema Ritrovato film festival in Bologna, Italy, in 2016. It is moderated by festival; director Gian Luca Farinelli and filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher. The participants include production manager Enrico Leoni, script supervisor and longtime Olmi assistant Fiorella Lugli, assistant production designer Rossella Guarna and cast members Omar Brignoli (Minek) and Franco Pilenga (Stefano.) Criterion also include 2 two interviews, thirty years apart, with Olmi from 1978 - 7-minutes from a French television broadcast aired May 19th, 1978 and the second, over 1/2 hour long, from 2008 conducted by film critic Lorenzo Codelli. There is also a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by film critic Deborah Young.

This is one of the pure gems from international cinema. A film experience you want to have in the absolute best possible quality. Thank goodness it was Criterion transferring this and the 4K restoration imbues the film rich, painterly qualities embracing the viewing and it makes me want to watch it all over again. We recommend!

***

ADDITION: Nouveaux - Region 2 - PAL - June - 05 - You know this Nouveaux DVD has been out for over 3 years - you think someone else could have reviewed it? I look on DVDBasen HERE and I see no one has done the UK edition. So, as we knew the Italian Luce disc was superior to the Koch, that is the one I hunted down and babel-fished until, almost as soon as I got a copy someone send me caps to show the cheaper (with the entire film on one disc), and virtually same extras - is at an English e-tailor site. I am the consummate DVD loser.

Okay, I still haven't come to a positive conclusion but so far the Nouveaux Pictures DVD is a head by a length, but we now see it has non-removable subtitles.  It is as sharp, seems to have more accurate color (see red skin tones of the LUCE + Koch discs) and next to the LUCE DVD, the Italian disc seems brightened. I will be conforming the details of the Nouveaux disc as soon as I receive it. Right now it is the one to buy unless you despise burned in subtitles.

***

The Instituto Luce is more accurate in terms of color. The Koch has a greenish haze over it. There is minor ghosting on the Koch (1st and 3rd captures) as it was transferred to NTSC directly from a PAL source.  The film is originally in the Bergamasco dialect. Both have the original language but the  Instituto Luce also has the more standard Italian as a dub option. The  Instituto Luce has a commentary (in Italian) and the film is divided over 2 discs. The Instituto Luce subtitle font an color are superior to the Kochs'. We recommend the Instituto Luce package.

Gary Tooze


DVD Menus

 

Nouveaux Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

 


(
Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Subtitle Sample


1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Nouveaux Picture - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Italian Instituto Luce (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Koch Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

  

  

Distribution

Nouveaux Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Italian Instituto Luce

Region 2 - PAL

Koch Lorber
Region 0 - NTSC
Criterion Collection - Spine # 854 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




 

 

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Gary Tooze

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