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Friday, May 8, 2020

Archival Videos Reflect Italy's Tumultuous Past

Cesare Zavattini on the set of Vittorio De Sica's "L'oro di Napoli"
The Audiovisual Archive Foundation of the Workers' and Democratic Movement (AAMOD) was established in the late 1970s. Filmmaker Cesare Zavattini oversaw operations during its first 20 years with the main goal of researching, collecting and storing historical audiovisual documents such as cinema, newsreels and multimedia. Much of the content includes documentaries and video essays covering numerous topics such as social movements, catastrophic events, post-war conditions and culture.

In 1983, the archive was declared a place of “considerable historical interest” by the superintendent of the region of Lazio. Over the last decade, many clips have been uploaded to YouTube. Although most of the clips are in Italian without English subtitles, the site is worth looking through if only to see actual video of life in Italy over the last century captured by photojournalists documenting history. Go to and click on the various squares for categorized historic archival videos.

Below are a few that I intend on watching. I have to admit that my Italian is not good enough to understand 100% of the dialogue and narration in these. However, I find that the captivating video makes up for any words I can't quite catch.

“Trevico-Torino. Viaggio nel Fiat-Nam” – 1972
Docu-fiction by Ettore Scola about the living conditions southern Italians were forced to endure upon relocating to the FIAT company’s Torino manufacturing plant
Click here to watch it.

"La follia di Zavattini" – 1981
Documentary by Ansano Giannarelli made during the shooting and editing of Cesare Zavattini's 1982 film, "La veritaaaà"
Click here for more information.

"Sirena operaia" – 2000
Documentary by Gianfranco Pannone about factory workers in the 1960s and '70s featuring excerpts from actor Alberto Bellocchio's book "Il Saggiatore"
Click here for more information.

"La tragedia del Vajont" – 1964
Documentary by Luigi Di Gianni about a destructive landslide in northern Italy in 1963
Click here for more information. 

"Così vicino, così lontano" – 1970
Video essay by Romano Scavolini on the neighborhood, Ostiense, located near Rome's Fiumicino Airport
Click here for more information.

"Gli anni del dopoguerra e della guerra fredda" – 1996
An anthology by Carlo Lizzani that traces some of the most dramatic moments of post-WWII Italy
Click here for more information.

I am looking forward to watching these documentaries and will update the list with more clips in the future. Enjoy!

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