Film: 4345

Farming + Rural Life | 1940 | Silent | B/W


A day in the life of an average family in rural Italy.

Hand-drawn map of Italy, only two cities are marked: Rome and Naples. A hand points at a dot in between with a pencil, an unknown town. Rural Italy, panoramic view of a vast, green valley; mountains can be seen far in the background. Big country house or farm house, a flock of geese stands by one of the doors. A girl walks out of a door on top of the stairs. Hens. A pigeon leaves his hand-made wooden home. Another child joins the first one, he holds a dog under his arm; both children wear peculiar antiquated school uniforms. The girl grabs the dog and feeds him milk from her breakfast bowl with a spoon; the boy looks at the dog smiling. A very typical Italian mother grabs their breakfast bowls, the dog and sends them to school. They run, scaring the geese away. They join a group of children and they stroll to school together. A man by an ox-cart waves at them. They walk towards the school, a building in the distance. The bell on top of the school tolls. The children rush to school.

In the classroom children chase and push each other, throw paper in the air. The teacher walks in and they calm down. The teacher signs himself and starts the morning prayer; tilt to show the crucifix on the wall. Two shots of the children murmuring the morning prayer. Geometry lesson (area of a trapezium); pupils watch attentively. Younger children practice reading; a page of the reading book, written in old-fashioned Italian. Children rush outside for playtime. Shot of their shadows on the grass as they walk in a circle, holding hands (a game called girotondo). Formal games: two children dance in the middle of the circle while the others awkwardly clap their hands. Children of different ages play together, the circle breaks up; the whole scene looks contrived. Children go home. The two children from the start now walk alone. Their mother cooks pasta and takes it to an outside table; she distributes it to the family (two children, husband and a woman, probably a sister or sister-in-law). The father smiles as he cuts and gives out slices from a big loaf of bread. Kids eat pasta. The girl eats an apple. They all eat apples as the father smokes a huge pipe. Mother bakes bread in outdoor oven, she pulls out many loaves which the daughter places on a big tray. Mother carries the full tray back to the house on her head. Father and son cut wood and they carry it back to the house. Mother and daughter knit. The whole family, dog included, go back in the house. Father shuts the door.

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