"Fascinating Historical Faith and Values"
What You Need To Know:
THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS is a commentary on the passing of a Christian world as humanism advances. Humanism is the villain, whether it’s manifested in socialism or the breakdown of morality. The idea that society flourishes because of a vibrant Christian is clearly shown. THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS is almost like watching a documentary of real people living real lives. THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS is so thoroughly Christian, it’s hard to believe the movie was ever made.
(CCC, BBB, ACAC, M) Very strong Christian worldview with very strong moral, biblical messages including excellent preaching, prayers, references to Jesus, examples of faith, joy of faith, love of faith, positive portraits of clergy and nuns and people of faith, with a subtle criticism of socialist, dishonesty, and the Italian unification movement; no foul language; man fights with his son, man starts to beat his horse but the horse wins, slaughtering of rooster for food, a goose, and a pig; no sex, but there’s courtship, marriage, and childbirth; nude little boy is given a bath; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, dishonesty but rebuked.
THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS is one of the most amazing, inspirational, poignant, loving movie about rural life in Northern Italy at the turn of the 19th Century. The movie won the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize award and is considered by many to be a masterpiece. What is amazing is that it’s Christian through and through.
The movie opens with a priest telling a mother and father that their little son should go to school. The father says nobody in his family has gone to school. The priest replies that God has given the boy intelligence, and you shouldn’t deny his God-given gift. Unfortunately, going to school means the boy has to walk four miles from the farm to the school.
Five families live on the farm. It’s owned by a landlord who gets a portion of the crops and livestock as payment. Otherwise, he leaves the farmers alone. They are not only extremely industrious, but they are also very Christian. When a cow gets sick, and the veterinarian tells them to slaughter the cow, but the wife prays a beautiful prayer, and the cow recovers. When a baby is born, it’s a gift from God. In fact, every aspect of their lives is a sacrament, which means an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.
Although this is a beautiful, happy, industrious community, there are problems. One member of the community isn’t a Christian. He terrorizes his son. He puts rocks in his carriage so his produce gets more money when it’s weighed by the bailiff. He also steals a gold coin he finds on the ground. He does get his comeuppance.
Another threat to the rural, bucolic lifestyle is the socialist movement to unite Italy. A socialist agitator spreads lies. When the newly married couple goes downriver to Milan, the army is fighting a war with the rebels.
On the other hand, the clergy is good, caring, and thoughtful. Also, the nuns shelter the newlywed couple and help them make wise decisions.
The ultimate problem, of course, is the little boy walking to school. He wears out his wooden clogs. So, his father cuts down one of the tress that shade the lane to the farm, which gets him and his family evicted just after their latest child is born.
THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS is a commentary on the passing of a Christian world as humanism advances. Humanism is the villain, whether it’s manifested in socialism or the breakdown of morality in the next generation. The order of life that has society flourishing under a vibrant faith in God is clearly shown. Aside from what occurred in Italy, another example would be Russia, which was growing increasingly wealthy prior to the Communist revolution that not only murdered so many people, but brought an agricultural powerhouse to the state of famine.
Ermanno Olmi was considered one of the great directors in Italy, but his health took a turn for the worst after THE TREE OF THE WOODEN CLOGS; so, he never completed all the wonderful historical epics he intended.
THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS is a European movie in many ways. It’s almost like watching a documentary of real people living real lives. It’s amazing it got so much acclaim, because it’s so thoroughly Christian. It’s hard to believe such a movie was ever made.