A very typical Palme d'Or winner. Poor farmers going about their business for more than three hours on end. There's no real drama here, no pressing issues, no fancy cinematography, just a slice of life. Italian neo-realism at its best/worst, for me personally it was very much the latter.
Several families of farmers are living on the land of a rich landowner. They pay him a part of their produce, even so he likes to mingle in the lives of the farmers. When one of the farmer's kids turns out to be highly intelligent, they want to send him to a good school, but those are expensive and they'll need to make many sacrifices to get him there.
A cast of amateur actors does a decent enough job, but I simply don't care for the life of 19th century farmers. It's all very expected, characters are caricatures, their living conditions are dire and the lack of any real drama makes it a real chore to watch. The runtime just makes it twice as bad. Terrible.