These films, all commissioned to Ermanno Olmi by Edison Volta, document some operational phases in the realization of the hydroelectric power plants system in Italy. In particular they illustrate the construction of two dams, the one in Val di Lei (Lei Valley) and the Sabbioni dam in Val Formazza (Formazza Valley), two great reservoirs with for that time innovative technical characteristics. The realization of an high voltage line for the transport of electric energy and the manufacturing process are shown, too.
The common element in these films is the emerging cooperation between man and machinery: a joined effort, in extreme conditions, which is indispensable to achieve the object. We are in the fifties, people work in surroundings hard with respect to the climatic and the geographical aspect and gigantic works are realized: they’d be unattainable by means of the muscular energy alone, but physical strength is still indispensable to control the machines: to position the huge cable bobbins, to direct the inert building material to the breaker, to hook the bins containing the concrete, etc, all intervention necessary to fill the gap between machines, materials and tools in order to complete the operation schedule. This attention to man, his physical presence and his psychological features is well referable to Ermanno Olmi’s general sensitivity.