The Earth is trembling because it can no longer tolerate injustice between people. The whole Creation can tremble when some people harshly mistreat others. Will those who see how people are abused, how abuse of others is a part of “normal life” – intervene in the face of injustice? This is the very nerve, the very pulse of Visconti’s film radiated by love for people regardless of their nation, religion and social and financial status.

With the alliterative echoing between the words “terra” and “trema” Visconti “naturalizes” the connection between the Being of earth and ability to take to the heart the moral side of things and poetically “proves” the ability of our planet to feel moral indignation. With each scene, with every angle of the camera and with montage of visual images and narrative motifs Visconti expresses his care and concern for life of those who are born human and for this very reason deserve humane treatment.

The film is dedicated to the humanity of working poor – Sicilian fishermen exploited by the wholesalers who have the financial leverage to manipulate them and keep them in poverty and dependence. Visconti emphasizes that in spite of being artificially pauperized, the fishermen in the film are not less but even more human in their sensitivity and common sense. It looks that the truth of pauperized people’s ontological equality with people above them in the social hierarchy needs to be repeated with each human generation. Visconti’s film did it for his time and also is doing it for us – for those in the beginning the 21st century.

One of the discoveries of the film is how expressively real (without any affectation and propaganda points) the fishermen are playing the characters – themselves. Before Antonioni’s “Il Grido” and Pasolini’s early films dedicated to the assertion of simple people’s humanity, and much before the genre of fictionalized documentary stories started to appear on TV in recent years, Visconti depicts the humanity of the common people in a complicated (without commercial simplifications and propagandist over-generalizations) cinematic language. We see on the screen the visual poetry of human psychological disinterestedness and feel that the material and technological progress by the price of losing the human nature’s common sense and humanism is aberration for which we all will pay.

For a very brief period when Ntoni tried to establish himself as a really free worker- entrepreneur, the fishermen families are preparing their fish for free trade. They don’t know that in Western economy real free market is not allowed to exist with the help of exactly the rhetoric of free market.

When the fishermen bring their freshly caught good to the market, the wholesalers are effectively organizing price-downing and force fishermen to surrender to the artificial price

Periodically, the wholesalers organize festive propaganda events where they represent themselves as the heroes of the poor and benefactors of people’s needs.

The local girl from fishermen community, playing a small role in the film , is obviously fascinated with the young Visconti.

Posted on Aug, 19, 2015 –   Luchino Visconti’s “La Terra trema/The Earth Trembles” (1948) – Repression of Small Business By Corporate Power by Acting-Out Politics