The craft of arms

The Arms Trade (original title: Il mestiere delle armi ) is an Italian film directed by Ermanno Olmi , released in 2001 .


Beginning of the xvi th  century. The Italian Wars devastate the peninsula. The film begins six days before the death of John of Medici ( Giovanni de Medici ), engaged in the service of the pontifical state against lansquenets Lutherans . During an ambush of the Imperialists , Jean de Medicis, captain of the Black Bands, is seriously injured in the leg. Transported to the palace of Loyso Gonzaga in Mantua , the captain sees the wound won by gangrene. Despite the amputation, the wounded died in late November 1526 . The poet Aretin witness the last moments of the brave warrior.

Technical sheet

  • Movie title: The Arms Trade
  • Original title: Il mestiere delle armi
  • Director and screenplay: Ermanno Olmi
  • Assistant Director: Andrea Marrari
  • Photography: Fabio Olmi – Colors
  • Sets: Luigi Marchione
  • Costumes: Francesca Sartori
  • Editing: Paolo Cottignola
  • Music: Fabio Vacchi
  • Production: Luigi Musini, Roberto Cicutto for Cinema 11 Undici, Rai Cinema, StudioCanal, Taurus Produktion.
  • Filming locations: Bulgaria , Mantua , Sancino (near Cremona ), Torre Pallavicina , Ferrara
  • Duration: 105 minutes
  • Producer countries: Italy / Bulgaria / France / Germany
  • Exit : in Italy ,in France


  • Hristo Zhivkov  : Giovanni de ‘Medici
  • Desislava Tenekedjieva: Maria Salviati from ‘Medici
  • Sergio Grammatico  : Frederic de Gonzague
  • Sandra Ceccarelli  : the noble lady of Mantua
  • Nikolaus Moras: Georg von Frundsberg
  • Sasa Vulicevic: The Arretine
  • Aldo Toscano: Loyso Gonzague
  • Paolo Roversi

The choice of Giovanni de ‘Medici and that of Ermanno Olmi

  • “Giovanni slab Bande Nere is a figure considered fierce in his day. This often happens because of the specificity of a trade, in this case that of weapons, ” says Ermanno Olmi . However, “climbing in his military ranks, Giovanni de ‘Medici manages to modify and to grow in him also the human values (…) It is never an ambiguous hero, better it is a true hero because ‘He is tall. He is a man who dies as he lived, he faces death in the same way that he fought the war and he commanded his troops: not because he had the rank to do it but because he he had the competence. He has the intuition that with death, it should not be big but on the contrary smaller,, he points out 1 .


  • Nastro of silver 2001 of the best photography ( Fabio Olmi  (it) ), of the best scenography ( Luigi Marchione  (in) ) and of the best costume designer ( Francesca Sartori  (it) )
  • 2001 Golden Globe , Best Film and Best Photography
  • David di Donatello 2002 for the whole film


  1. ↑ Press Conference Cannes , 3/05/2001.

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