One Hundred Nails

centochiodi

"This idealised picture of natural harmony, beatific humanity and divine mystery radiates a deep sense of tranquillity and pleasure."
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Year: 2007
Country: Italy
Running time: 92 mins
Italy
Screenplay: Ermanno Olmi
Photography: Fabio Olmi
Editor: Paolo Cottignola
Music: Fabio Vacchi
In Italian with English subtitles
M low level offensive language

With: Raz Degan, Luna Bendandi, Amina Syed, Michele Zattara, Damiano Scaini, Franco Andreani

Festivals: Cannes, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Pusan 2007; Rotterdam, San Francisco 2008
Ermanno Olmi (The Tree of Wooden Clogs) announced at 75 that this would be his last feature. Though it begins as an investigative thriller, it’s essentially the simple tale of a young Bologna professor who turns his back on the world of learning (dramatically, by driving nails through 100 leather-bound tomes) and finds his way into a small riverside community where traditional life is threatened by modernisation. There he is accepted as if he were Christ himself. Olmi parallels many New Testament stories and figures, and echoes The Da Vinci Code too, particularly in his depiction of the priesthood. (He is coy about the status of his protagonist’s relationship to the Mary Magdalene equivalent.) Much of the film is an exquisitely photographed idyll of life on the banks of the Po. The benign picture of natural harmony, beatific humanity and divine mystery radiates a deep sense of tranquillity and pleasure. — BG

“This profoundly Catholic, profoundly personal fable veers, like many Olmi films, between the seemingly inept and the spellbindingly innocent, magical in its tenderness, its striking visuals and its unpredictability. Don’t miss.“ — Geoff Andrew, Time Out

“’Are books more important than having coffee with a friend?’ asks the heretical professor. Is the cinema more important than the natural beauties it captures? One Hundred Nails is, as they say, an ’old man’s film’, with no sense of propriety whatsoever, happily if not joyously at odds with itself. Thematically and stylistically speaking, it is an oasis amidst the endless buzzing of an aggressive film culture.“  — Kent Jones, Film Comment