For all of the American cinema’s infatuation with “childlike innocence” in the late 70s, this 1982 film is the only one of its era I know that captures a child’s point of view both convincingly and movingly. Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have brought a sense of premorality both to the composition of the images and the shape of the narrative: the cosmic and the trivial have equal importance in the balanced frames, and no one episode is stressed at the dramatic expense of another. The time is 1944, and the residents of the small Italian town of San Martino are escaping from the German occupying forces; among them is a little girl who will grow up to tell the story to her son—and us.