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Film / Padre Padrone

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Padre Padrone is a 1977 film by Vittorio and Paolo Taviani (English title might be Father and Master though it is frequently untranslated ). It is dedicated to the Sardinian peasant family. The life is very harsh there and a farming father exploits his little son Gavino. First he takes him from school to be a shepherd of the sheep flock. Then when a child tries to quit the flock he beats him brutally.

Later the son as a 20-something youth is still completely subdued to his father. To quit the farm he first unsuccessfully tries to become a gastarbeiter in Germany, later goes to the Italian army where he is educated. On his return from the army he finally makes a stand to his father.

The film won the Palme d'Or in 1977.


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  • Abusive Parents: Up to Eleven with Gavino's father. However the film also discloses the reasons for that: life is harsh in Sardnia and farming is precarious. So one has to exploit children to survive economically.
  • Alliterative Title: Padre Padrone.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Subverted. The fact that some young rural Sardinians acquire their first sexual experience with donkeys, sheep and hens is treated very matter-of-factly.
  • Cameo: Cesare, Gavino's friend in the army, is played by no one else that the (then-young) Nanni Moretti who later would become renowned due to his deadpan comedies including Bianca, La messa e finita and Caro Diario.
  • Call-Back: In the farm Gavino deceives his father when he secretly exchanges two sheep from his flock for an accordion. He cuts across his mouth with a knife then tells his father that robbers attacked and stabbed him and took two sheep. Later he resorts to the same ruse in the army when he is said to read by his teacher as he cannot read.
    • Even later upon his return from the army his father cuts across his lips during their brawl.
  • Dramatization: Gavino Ledda is an actual Sardinian Italian philologist who wrote a book about the experiences of his childhood and youth.
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  • Gratuitous Latin: Gavino who is conscripted in his twenties is taught to write in the army. He also learns some Latin and pronounces several phrases in this language while he rides the tank on manoeuvres to his friend in a nearby tank by the radio.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Gavino's father says to the teacher and Gavino's mates that for his family, as they are poor, poverty, not education, is compulsory. Then he takes him away fron the class.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Zigzagged for Gavino after he made his military service. He is marginally more courageous but still not as defiant and independent as one would suppose him to be after the time in the army. Father to an extent still suppresses him even though he does make a stand with the mixed result. In the end he simply quits the farm once more.
  • Unnamed Parent: Both father and mother of Gavino are only credited as such.
  • Untranslated Title
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