I had never even heard of Olmi before getting this film, which is odd since I've been exposed to many other italian postwar directors. Therefore, I FIDANZATI (The Fiances, or The Engaged) came as a complete surprise to me. The storyline, sometimes slow and wonderfully hypnotic in places, centers around the life of a construction worker who takes a job in Sicily and moves away from his fiance in northern Italy. It's the classic romantic "abscence makes the heart grow fonder" storyline that is usually trite and banal. But somehow, amazingly, Olmi manages to pull it off, mainly through the great performances of the two leads and the brilliant editing towards the film's conclusion, where they read letters and thoughts to one another in a way that distorts past, present, and future. Highly recommended, as is Criterion's new editon of Olmi's IL POSTO.