People of the Po Valley (1947) Movie Script

Toward the end of its course,
after gathering waters
from the Alps and Apennines,
the Po River becomes navigable.
These are convoys
of flat-bottomed barges
loaded with agricultural goods
from the region.
It's not an easy voyage.
It's only for those
who've spent a lifetime on the Po.
Their homes are on the barges.
The barge is their work,
their home, their love.
Up and down the great river,
between the banks
of Emilia and Veneto,
in their home they journey
toward the sea.
A man...
a woman...
a little girl.
Aided by the current,
their journey takes a day at the most.
From the banks
the water looks as flat as asphalt.
There are washerwomen
on the bank.
Beyond the banks
are the melancholy facades
of country houses
where someone's always
looking out at the river.
It's a hard life
that never changes.
Perhaps those watching the convoys
go by think about happiness,
about leaving, traveling,
starting a new life.
At the end of the voyage
awaits the open sea.
But it's been years
since anyone watched
from this ancient water mill.
The convoy's arrival
is always cause for celebration.
The barges make a wide turn
to get upstream and moor.
Later the woman goes ashore.
It's almost evening.
"A poor village where life passes
as slowly as the seasons or the river"
that's what the bells are saying.
At this hour, the people gather
on the embankment.
Look at that boy with his bicycle.
He's going courting
on the banks of the Po.
It's a grim life
that never changes,
but further along,
between the sky and the marsh,
life for the people of the Po
becomes even bleaker.
Their beds aren't always safe
when a storm is brewing.
They must interrupt their fishing
and quickly get back
to their endangered huts.
The wind blusters
against the thatched roofs.
The tide grows higher and higher.
The ground outside and inside
their pitiful shacks
turns to mud.
The village is quickly flooded...
by fresh water from the Po...
and saltwater from the Adriatic.