Professor Sinigaglia (Marcello Mastroianni) is the title character in this darkly comedic Italian drama about mistreated factory workers in the city of Turin. Toiling away in appalling conditions in a textile mill, these employees have no one to stand up for them until Sinigaglia puts his academic career on the line by helping them to start a strike. Although the teacher comes under scrutiny by unsympathetic authorities, he maintains his dedication to the workers’ cause.
In turn-of-the-twentieth-century Turin, an accident in a textile factory incites workers to stage a walkout. But it’s not until they receive unexpected aid from a traveling professor (Sinigaglia) that they find their voice, unite, and stand up for themselves. This historical drama by Mario Monicelli, brimming with humor and honesty, is a beautiful and moving ode to the power of the people, and features engaging, naturalistic performances.