La Terra Trema

A fishing family attempts to escape poverty and exploitation by becoming the owner of its own boat in Luchino Visconti’s work of uncompromising realism.

Special Prize, Venice Film Festival 1948

La terra trema is a work of uncompromising realism that is universally acknowledged as a masterpiece of post-war Italian cinema. Entirely set and shot in a small village on the east coast of Sicily and using non-professional actors, it tells the story of a fishing family which attempts to escape from poverty and exploitation by becoming the owner of its own boat.

To acquire the boat the family is forced to mortgage its house but the boat is destroyed in a storm and the family is ruined. However, the film ends on a hopeful note, with the community able to learn from the events and succeed together in overthrowing exploitation.

Upon the film’s release, the Valestro family, who were the main participants, wrote to Luchino Visconti expressing deep gratitude to him for telling their story to Italy and the world.

La terra trema instantly reveals the quality of Visconti’s direction, particularly in the sheer beauty of the images and the vibrant performances he achieved from the villagers. Many of its themes recur in Visconti’s later work but nowhere else are they so firmly anchored in realism and respect for life.

Special features

  • Director biography.

Product information

    • Certificate

      U

    • Colour

      Black/white

    • Sound

      Sound

    • Running time

      153mins

    • Languages

      Sicilian, Italian

    • Subtitles

      English

    • Original aspect ratio

      1.33:1

    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

Buying options

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