The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Here’s a foreign film from the Vatican’s 1995 list of “Some Important Films”.

Following four peasant families in an Italian province in the late 1800s, the film does not have a plot in the traditional sense. Rather, we observe these families and their struggles, joys, and daily routines as they manage to scrape by for another year working as farmers, planting crops, slaughtering animals, singing and praying, getting married, raising children, and always relying on God. It’s all captured as real and as life-like as possible, naturally engaging us as we get to know the various characters.

Reflecting on the different way of life the film presents, one may notice the trade-offs with our modern way of living. Social life is different. So much of these farmers’ lives are lived with and around one another. Parents work while their children play beside them. There’s a different sense of community. At the same time, they are beholden to their landlord, and are powerless to fight many of the social and economic injustices they face, requiring them to turn that much more consistently to God.

As we continue through Lent, the film may help us reflect on our own modern way of life, how it may affect our relations with others and our relation to God.

The film is not rated, but would likely be PG. Still, it is likely more appropriate for older viewers due to its 3 hour runtime, contemplative style and pacing, and the viewers’ need to read subtitles.

Runtime: 3 hours, 6 minutes
Rated PG
USCCB rating: A-II
94% on Rotten Tomatoes
IMDb Parents Guide
Is it streaming?