La Terra Trema

In the idyllic Sicilian fishing village of Acitrezza, generations of the Valestro family have upheld the traditional vocation and simple existence of their ancestors, despite economic hardship and personal tragedy. The men earn their subsistence as hired fishermen for wealthy, opportunistic wholesale merchants who collude with rival merchants to depreciate the market prices of the villagers’ daily catch for sale to the neighboring town of Catania. Each day, the Valestro women maintain the household and anxiously await the return of the men from sea, helplessly aware of the dangers and natural catastrophes that could befall the family on any unassuming day. As the younger members of the Valestro family turn their back on the traditional means of commerce by the local fishermen, they risk not only losing the family home, but also their solidarity with the villagers who rely on the wholesalers for economic survival. La Terra Trema is a captivating examination of rural life, community, exploitation and human resilience. By filming in the peasant fishing village of Acitrezza, and capturing the local dialect of the indigenous nonprofessional (and uncredited) actors, Visconti preserves the authenticity and universality of the story of human struggle. (—Strictly Film School) Directed by Luchino Visconti. Produced by Salvo d’Angelo.

Introduced by Alberto Manai, Director, Italian Cultural Institute.

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