Mario Soldati / Italy / 1941 / 106 min / Black and white

1850 in Valsolda, on Lake Lugano, during the Austrian domination. Franco, a young aristocrat, and Luisa, daughter of a humble worker, defy social differences to get married, attracting the disappointment of his grandmother, the rigid pro-Austrian Marquise Maironi. Ombretta was born from the marriage, while the marquise disinherits her nephew and obtains the dismissal of Luisa's uncle, who hosts the couple in his house. As if that weren't enough, their existence is soon turned upside down by a painful tragedy. Between the two young people it will be difficult to keep their love alive, with the family destroyed and no more money. Piccolo Mondo Antico is a courageous film produced in 1941, when Italy was under the fascist regime. Its content can be seen as a form of cultural resistance against the regime. Mario Soldati pays homage to Antonio Fogazzaro with an exemplary adaptation managing, despite the drastic reductions, to significantly preserve the spirit of the original text.

  • Mario Soldati

    Mario Soldati

    Mario Soldati (1906-1999) was an Italian director, author and writer. Piccolo Mondo Antico (1941) is his best known film. In 1954 he directed The River Girl. Policarpo (1959) was awarded  a prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Later, he devoted himself to writing, winning various literary awards. In 1957 he filmed for Rai Alla ricerca dei cibi genuini - Viaggio nella valle del Po, a transmission considered a document of anthropological importance. Soldati was a passionate interpreter of Italian identity and, under the pretext of food and wine, he contributed to making Italy known to Italians.


Screenplay Mario Bonfantini, Emilio Cecchi, Alberto Lattuada, Mario SoldatiCinematography Carlo Montuori, Arturo Gallea, Carlo NebioloEditing Gisa Radicchi LeviMusic Enzo Masetti, Fernando PrevitaliProducer Carlo PontiProduction company I.C.I., A.T.A. Film


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