Vittorio De Seta was born into a noble Calabrian family in Palermo, Sicily, in 1923. The director soon moved to Rome (where he continues to reside) and studied film in the 1940s, breaking away from the official cinema in the 1950s with a series of acclaimed documentaries made in Sicily, Sardinia, and Calabria. Characterized by beautiful color, keen observation, and ambient soundtracks without narration, these works depict the customs of rural Italian laborers and families. De Seta went on to make formally unconventional dramatic films that reflect a strong social commitment. Two highlights of the exhibition are Bandits of Orgosolo (1961), De Seta’s award-winning first feature-length film, and the US premiere of Diary of a Schoolteacher (1973).