Loser's Guide to Life
Il Tempo Si E' Fermato (Time Stood Still) (1959; dir./writer: Ermanno Olmi; 83 min.)
The curious thing about this spare and, at times, humorous movie is that it followed hard on the heels of those works by Ermanno Olmi which were purely industrial studies: “Cavo ad Olio Fluido a 220.000 Volt”, (“220,000 Volt Fluid Oil Cable”), “Fertilizzanti Prodotti dalla Società del Gruppo Edison”, (“Edison Group Fertilising Products”), and “Natura e Chimica” (“Nature and Chemistry”), for example, which all appeared in the same year.
But here, in the minimalist story of a young worker learning the ropes from his senior at a remote hydroelectric station, it is as if man, the putative master of his works, finally makes an appearance in their midst and is set up for some sort of confrontation. At first there is quite a lot of the usual roommate/coworker friction, as the older man gapes in disbelief at the other's mollycoddled outlook and incomprehensibly casual approach to the work. But the man-nature confrontation soon comes in the form of a heavy snow storm, and the two put aside their differences and learn to work together. What at first seems to be the age old insoluble problem of personal space and generational discord is shown to be nothing in the face of several hundred thousand cubic feet of snow.