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Padre padrone

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paolo Taviani
Vittorio Taviani
Produced by Giuliani G. De Negri
Written by Story:
Gavino Ledda
Paolo Taviani
Vittorio Taviani
Starring Omero Antonutti
Music by Egisto Macchi
Cinematography Mario Masini
Editing by Roberto Perpignani
Distributed by Radiotelevisione Italiana
Cinema 5 Distributing (USA)
Artificial Eye (UK)
Release date(s) June 1977
December 23, 1977
(New York Film Festival)
Running time 114 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

Padre padrone (also known as Father and Master) (1977) is an Italian film directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. The Tavianis used both professional and non-professional actors from the Sardinian countryside.[1]

The drama was originally filmed by the Taviani brothers for Italian television but won the 1977 Palme d'Or prize at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival.[2][3]

The film depicts a Sardinian shepherd who is terrorized by his domineering father and tries to escape by educating himself. He eventually becomes a celebrated linguist. The drama is based on an autobiographical book of the same title by Gavino Ledda.



The film opens at a Sardinian elementary school that six-year old Gavino (Saverio Marconi) is attending. His tyrannical peasant father (Omero Antonutti) barges in and announces to the teacher and the students that Gavino must leave school and tend the family sheep. Under his father's watchful eyes and the victim of his sadistic behavior, Gavino passes the next fourteen years tending sheep in the Sardinian mountains. There he begins to discover things for himself and begins to rebel against his father.

Gavino is rescued from his family and his isolation when he is called for military service. During his time with the army he learns about electronics, the Italian language and classical music, yearning all the while for a university education.

When Gavino returns home, he declares to his father that he will attend university. His father is against this and tells him that he will throw him out of the family home. They have a nasty fight, but Gavino eventually attends university and emerges as a brilliant student. He becomes a linguist, specializing in the origins of the Sardinian dialect.

The film ends in documentary fashion as Gavino Ledda himself tells why he wrote his book and what Sardinian children may expect as inhabitants of a rural area with close ties to the land.


  • Omero Antonutti as Father
  • Saverio Marconi as Gavino
  • Marcella Michelangeli as Mother
  • Fabrizio Forte as Young Gavino
  • Nanni Moretti as Cesare
  • Gavino Ledda as Himself

Critical reception

Janet Maslin, film critic for The New York Times, praised the film and wrote, "Padre Padrone is stirringly affirmative. It's also a bit simple: The patriarchal behavior of Gavino's father is so readily accepted as an unfathomable given constant that the film never offers much insight into the man or the culture that fostered him. Intriguingly aberrant behavior is chalked up to tradition, and thus robbed of some of its ferocity. But the film is vivid and very moving, coarse but seldom blunt, and filled with raw landscapes that underscore the naturalness and inevitability of the father-son rituals it depicts."[4]

The staff for Variety magazine also lauded the film and wrote, "Around the initiation of a seven-year-old boy into the lonely life of sheep herder until his triumphant rift at the age of 20 with a remarkably overbearing father-patriarch (Omero Antonutti), the Taviani brothers have for the most part succeeded in adapting a miniature epic...In a long final part, accenting the boy's iron will to learn right up to a high school diploma, the final showdown between patriarch and rebel son is perhaps a more consequent narrative."[5]





  1. ^ Padre padrone at the Internet Movie Database.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Padre Padrone". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  3. ^ Curran, Daniel, ed. Foreign Films, film review and analysis of Padre Padrone, page 135, 1989. Evanston, Illinois: Cinebooks. ISBN 0-933997-22-1.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet. The New York Times, film review, "Man's Inhumanity to Son," December 24, 1977. Last accessed: December 31, 2007.
  5. ^ Variety. Film review, December 24, 1977. Last accessed: December 31, 2007.

External links



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