Il mestiere delle armi

  • 105'
  • Italy
  • 2001
For the unprepared spectator, the storyline of Il mestiere delle armi may at first seem difficult to unravel. In Northern Italy, the `dark' Middle Ages were coming to an end. The various city states were forced to choose between Emperor and Pope. The film opens with a funeral in 1526: the deceased is Giovanni de Medici, who died at the age of 28. Despite his age he was a legendary soldier. His soldiers were called the Black Gang because he had their equipment scorched black so they could advance in the dark without being seen. Giovanni and his men formed the buffer between Pope Clemens VII Giovanni's uncle and the advancing German troops of Emperor Charles V. In the political chaos, Giovanni's calls for reinforcements go unheeded. New, advanced weapons prove fatal for Giovanni: a bullet hits him and his leg has to be amputated. He suffers terrible pain and, half delirious, he thinks back on his life and loves.Il mestiere delle armi is more a spiritual film and an erudite character study scouting the boundaries of the human soul and the process of dying in dignity than a historic or a war film. In addition, it is great cinema. The beautiful outdoor shots were made in the Danube delta. According to many it is Olmi's best film since his masterpiece from 1978, The Tree of Wooden Clogs.
Ermanno Olmi
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
International title
The Profession of Arms
Cinemaundici, Alessandro Calosci
Studio Canal
Ermanno Olmi
Local Distributor
A-Film Distribution