In Theaters: Wednesday 13th September 1961
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
IMDB: 8.1 / 10
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Producer: Alberto Soffientini
Here, Domenico (Sandro Panseri) treks from his Italian village to Milan in order to test for a job at a nameless company. He'll start out at the bottom, but he'll be guaranteed a job for life if he makes it. Domenico's test -- a simple math problem -- results in a callback for a round of odd interviews and physical testing, but along the way he becomes more interested in a fellow applicant named Antoinetta (Loredana Detto) than the job.
Domenico finally ends up as a messenger for the company; they don't need any more clerical staff, as it turns out. He finally gets his chance to move up (if taking a desk in a sad room full of drones counts as moving up) -- only after a current clerk-for-life dies. Domenico's dreams of climbing the corporate ladder are, of course, exactly that. He's destined to sit at that desk for the rest of his life, too.
Il Posto is a commentary on the workplace as damning as Brazil but one writ small and humbly. It's a hard film to love: Domenico is such a nice and innocent guy. You want him to get the girl and you want him to succeed, but that's wishful thinking. Writer Kent Jones offers an interesting insight into the film in his essay, included in a small booklet on the new Criterion DVD of the film, where he interprets a hint of hope somewhere in Domenico's story -- even if it's 10 years down the road. People will of course believe what they want to believe and will invariably interpret films as ultimately positive. To each his own. What no one will deny is that it stands as one of few indictments of postwar culture, as most films of the era were busy celebrating our new industriousness.
The DVD also adds a deleted scene and an extensive interview with Olmi about the film.