Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 16:00


Vittorio De Seta


Friday 23/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Free admission subject to availability


Film Notes

I vividly remember seeing Banditi at the New York Film Festival in the early 1960s. It was one of the most unusual and extraordinary films I had ever seen. It’s a simple story: a shepherd, unjustly accused of a crime, is chased through an arid and silent landscape. His sheep starve, and, destitute, he is forced to become a bandit. The story, however, is also the story of an island and its people. Set on the mountains of Barbagia, in Sardinia, the film reveals an archaic world, unspoiled by society. Its people speak an ancient dialect and live according to prehistoric laws. They see the modern world as foreign and hostile. In them, De Seta found the vestiges of an old society through which a nobility shone through. I remember being impressed by the style of the film. Neorealism had been taken to another level, where the director’s participation in his narrative was so total that the line be- tween form and content was obliterated and the events dictated the form. De Seta’s sense of rhythm, his use of the camera, his extraordinary ability to merge his characters to their environment was a complete revelation. It was as if De Seta were an anthropologist who spoke with the voice of a poet.

Martin Scorsese

Ridding his film of all dramatic structure, and limiting himself to revealing relations of force without endeavouring to derive pathetic promptings from it, in sum, recounting an event without flourishes and in the way in which things very probably went, De Seta eliminates all obstacles separating him from what he is looking for: the achievement of awareness. The itinerary that a simple being has to take in order to attain revolt, hence self-dignity and dignity as a man, is connected to that taken by De Seta’s directing. In his film nothing is a priori a pleasant sight to see. Neither the characters, nor the sheep, nor even the landscapes are destined to please. But, in accordance with Visconti’s idea, De Seta reveals their original greatness with fine and simple images. Under his Virgilian appearance, De Seta invites us to condemn an order of things which permits the degradation of natural order.

Jean Douchet, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 124, October 1961

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalle inchieste di Franco Cagnetta. Scen.: Vittorio De Seta, Vera Gherarducci. F.: Vittorio De Seta, Luciano Tovoli. M.: Jolanda Benvenuti. Mus.: Valentino Bucchi. Int.: Michele Cossu (Michele Jossu), Peppeddu Cossu (Peppeddu Jossu), Vittorina Pisano (Montonia) e altri pastori sardi. Prod.: Vittorio De Seta per Titanus. DCP. D.: 98’. Bn.