Adult life has begun for Domenico (Sandro Panseri); he goes out to look for a job in a corporation. And he gets one in Ermanno Olmi‘s marvelous Il Posto (The Job, 1961), albeit the point of the film is that urban organization and anonymity are, at bottom, frightful. It is this that Domenico encounters upon leaving his modest house for the city of Milan. What’s more, he both meets a girl he likes (Loredana Detto) and, correlatively, experiences urban loneliness. But one must work, even if it’s a dreary office job lasting a lifetime, and although it may seem to Domenico that Antonietta, the girl, is likely to permanently slip away from him, this is anything but a foregone conclusion. Hers is an attitude that should lift his spirits.
Miss Detto must have lifted Olmi’s spirits, for he married her and is still married to her. . . Though the director considered Il Posto “harsh,” it is far from utterly bleak or pessimistic. It is a trenchant achievement even better—considerably so—-than Olmi’s thoroughly religious Tree of Wooden Clogs.
(In Italian with English subtitles)