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Dell'Arte della Guerra: war between capitalism and humanness


- The recently released Italian documentary tells a heroic story of factory workers who won a battle in the war against capitalistic machinery

Dell'Arte della Guerra: war between capitalism and humanness
Dell'Arte della Guerra by Luca Bellino and Silvia Luzi

Luca Bellino and Silvia Luzi's Dell'Arte della Guerra (On the Art of War) was released last week in Italy. This exciting and important documentary tells the story of the workers at the Innse factory in Milan (formerly the famous Innocenti), winners in the war against the owner, who wanted to close the still-productive factory in order to sell off the machinery and make space for more lucrative residence buildings.

In August 2009, 14 months after the dismantling of the factory began, four of the workers decided to put a stop to it by climbing up onto the gantry crane and threatening to throw themselves off it if their requests were not fulfilled.Numerous circumstances influenced this development: the fact that the Union was not supporting the Innse workers, shady political games behind the scenes, and massive speculations linking organised crime to the construction companies that were transforming the industrial area into a residential one (Innse was the last factory remaining in the former industrial area) are only some of the aspects of this complicated story that is, in its essence, about the fight between ruthless capitalism and simple humanness, and between the faceless and emotionless state apparatus and basic human rights.

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The title Dell'Arte della Guerra is spot on: the most prominent of the workers, and also the most verbal interviewee, Vincenzo Acerenza, compares their struggle to a war, and likens the development and the protagonists to a military strategy. "We had to form an army," Acerenza says, comparing each event and psychological state of the workers/warriors to different stages in a war.

Bellino and Luzi tell the story through a successful combination of TV footage from the reports in front of the factory, long shots of empty hangars and interviews with the workers placed in this almost post-apocalyptic environment. The inventive use of sound, extreme close-ups of the protagonists and dynamic editing by Bellino give the film the feeling of a thriller much more than of a documentary.

Although it premiered at the 2012 Rome Film Festival, Kino Produzioni's Dell'Arte della Guerra only found distribution last week through Lab 80 Films. This fact also reflects the social circumstances in Italy, a subject matter that should perhaps be covered by a much higher number of films than are currently being released.


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