Sam Rohdie
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in Film modernism
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There is not one but three ‘languages’ in play in Luchino Visconti’s La terra trema. The first and most obvious is the Sicilian of Aci Trezza spoken by the men and women who act as themselves in the film; the second is Italian spoken within the fiction of the film by the members of the Church, the benefactors of the boats, the employees of the bank and is also the language spoken in the narrative summaries by an outside narrator and in three voices (that of Visconti, Pietrangeli and a Sardinian actor); the third is literary from the novel by Giovanni Verga Il Malvoglia on which La terra trama is based.

The three languages are always present in the film in various combinations and intensities essentially transposed one upon the other.

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