This article focuses on the collaboration between Ermanno Olmi and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Two key figures of the Italian cinematic tradition, Olmi and Pasolini have joined efforts on two occasions, as the Bergamasque director asked Pasolini to provide a commentary for his short films Manon finestra 2 (1956) and Grigio (1957). Two very different products, the two shorts offer a very compelling take on the process of industrialisation taking place in Italy in the 1950s. While Manon presents a slightly more positive view of the transition that Italy has undergone, Grigio is unequivocal in its condemnation, putting forward an alarming thesis: in order for this new society to exist, differences must be erased, communities are to disappear and the least advantaged will be left behind. However, this proposition also has a more optimistic counterpart; namely, the idea that these very communities remain the roots and the true point of reference of our civilisation.