11 November 2007 | joeagnes
Honour thy father and mother, so never forget your roots nor fellow commoners
Warning, Spoilers ahead!
'Lo Zappatore'translates from Italian to English to mean 'The Peasant' or more literally correct, 'A farm digger'. I cannot comment on this movie unless I disclose the very essence of what this movie is about. I recall seeing this movie many years ago, as my late mother mentioned to me that it was filmed in her home town in Italy, in the Campania region in the medieval merchant town 'Montesarchio' in the Provence of Benevento. This particular film is somewhat also very special to me as my late mother can also be clearly seen as a 20 year old in the town crowd when it was actually filmed back in 1950. This movie was later remade on a grander scale as a musical, starring the late famous Neapolitan singer Mario Merola, which is known internationally amongst those who have an appreciation for Neapolitan music, which coincidently has also been performed by the greats as Beniamino Gigli, Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras and Russell Watson. My current visit to Montesarchio has enticed me to visit those very same spots where this movie was filmed almost a life time ago, hence I am commenting on this movie in the exact town from Montesarchio itself.
This black and white classic focuses on the life of a poor farmer who strives to make sacrifices by working the fields day and night to financially allow his academically gifted son to study Law and to hopefully escape the poverty cycle of the prewar and postwar depressive periods. Any loving parent wanting the best for their children would strongly relate to this movie. When the son graduates from Law school, he gets the opportunity to work for a high class famous law firm and immediately loses touch with his parents without giving them any contact details. Incidentally, this movie stars Gabriele Ferzetti as the lawyer son who also later starred in the 1969 James Bond movie 'On her majesty's secret service' as Draco. His father is determined to find the whereabouts of his son when his mother is dying and she has a final wish to see her son before she dies. His illiterate father who has never left the town goes to extreme lengths to trace his son by travelling all over the country. On successfully locating the whereabouts of his son, he then discovers that his son is an important figure scheduled as the main guest at a 5 star luxury hotel banquet in one of the major capital cities. His depressed tired worn out father in deteriorated peasant clothes walks in to face his son, much to the shock of all the other guests and hotel staff, telling him that he is not an appropriately invited guest, being out of place to enter. He ignores to take any notice of them and confronts his son taking him by surprise. His son is asked by one of the hosts who the peasant is, but is too embarrassed to acknowledge that it is his father who is the peasant. His father then tells his son that it would have been better that he was also made to be a peasant as no peasant would forget his parents. When his father tells his son that his mother is dying wanting to see her son before she dies, he breaks down and kneels towards his father, again much to the shock of all the guests.
In one of Rudyard Kippling famous works titled 'IF', mentions in one of his lines that; if you could walk with kings and talk to crowds without losing touch of your roots and fellow commoners, you will live to be a man!!