Rotaie (1929)

A young couple flee rural poverty towards a potential suicide pact in the city.

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Many of us associate Italian silent film with the great historical epics like Cabiria or The Last Days of Pompeii, but here is an exception that anticipates post-war neo-realism. Mario Camerini’s fascist-era drama follows a young couple, social outcasts, fleeing from rural poverty to a potential suicide pact in the city. Their journey by train is a metaphor for the speed at which the empty promise of ‘modernisation’ was delivered. Alongside beautiful montage sequences and chiaroscuro lighting, the unknown actors add authenticity to the piece.

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