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BÉRGAMO 2022

Giulia Giapponesi • Directora de Bella Ciao - Per la libertà

"Un himno a la resistencia que nos une a todos"

por 

- Hemos entrevistado a la directora del documental sobre la canción que se ha converitdo en un símnolo de lucha contra la injusticia

Giulia Giapponesi • Directora de Bella Ciao - Per la libertà

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

We chatted with director Giulia Giapponesi at the Bergamo Film Meeting where she presented her documentary Bella Ciao - Per la libertà [+lee también:
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entrevista: Giulia Giapponesi
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about a hymn sung by partisans which has since become a song of struggle for new generations around the globe, a hit covered by some of the most famous artists in the world and none other than the soundtrack to the Netflix series Money Heist. Almost a century on from its creation, the potency of Bella Ciao shows no signs of diminishing. The film speaks of the genesis, the history and the secrets of this symbolic Resistance song, which resurfaces wherever there are struggles against injustice. The movie will screen in Italian cinemas on 11, 12 and 13 April only, distributed by I Wonder Pictures and Unipol Biografilm Collection.

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Cineuropa: Someone claims that at the time of the Second World War, nobody ever sung Bella Ciao. But in the film, we listen to the precious testimony given by Floriana Putaturo Diena, who’s the daughter of an antifascist and the widow of a partisan.
Giulia Giapponesi: Floriana remembers Bella Ciao well, we heard it coming out of her own mouth because she actually sings it in the film. Floriana mostly remembers Bella Ciao as having different verses to the ones we know today, and this is clear proof that Bella Ciao was popular during the war. But Cesare Bermani’s research, which we see in the film, has already addressed doubts over the genesis of the song, having discovered that Bella Ciao was sung in the Majella Brigade’s choirs and later appeared in various written documents in the Marche region too. But it’s one thing laying eyes on an exchange between researchers on paper, it’s a whole other thing to hear it sung by a handful of eyewitnesses who were there at the time. So I thought that Floriana was the best way of responding to this mystery/non-mystery.

The documentary proves that the tune existed even earlier.
What is it that makes a song? The tune and, without a doubt, the lyrics, and when we’re talking about partisans, lyrics are important. But which lyrics? There were many different factors involved in the birth of Bella Ciao, and that’s what helps it to remain so alive today. Countless seeds have given rise to a plant which now has many new leaves, which represent the different versions of Bella Ciao around the world.

Why has it travelled so well and been reinterpreted in thousands of languages and with different lyrics by people who aren’t even familiar with its origins?
It’s a sad yet happy tune, which works well with any struggle or resistance movement. Vinicio Capossela explained it really well at the beginning of his first interview: “Bella Ciao comes to the aid of those who need it”. He meant that in itself, it’s a song which is blind to colour and which doesn’t belong to anyone. Bella Ciao has recently been sung both by pro-Russians in Donbass, who felt oppressed by Ukrainians, and by Ukrainians who were invaded by Russia. It doesn’t have one specific ideological connotation, it’s not for one side or the other, and that’s why you’d think it would lose meaning. But it actually acquires even more meaning, because it’s a song which comes to the aid of those who need it. Ultimately, it’s a tool.

In the film, Carlo Pestelli describes it as “a hare running in the videosphere”. Unlike in the past, the existence of the web now means that it can be infinitely replicated and transformed, depending on how it’s needed, as you say, and sent to all corners of the globe.
When you’re looking back over the history of Bella Ciao, you can’t help thinking that there’s something in it which instinctively links us all together. Is it the tune? The words? We don’t know. What we did realise was that this song didn’t become famous thanks to Money Heist. All those people in Turkey and in Kurdistan were singing it long before the Spanish series came on the scene, and they rightly consider it one of their songs. As Bermani and Marcello Flores D’Arcais do a good job of explaining, it became really famous because of the explosion in Youth Festivals in the immediate post-war period, where people would sing it. Its dissemination via the internet is just the latest in a series of drivers which have made it periodically fashionable in different countries, at different times. The internet simply brought all these sparks together. More than a speech full of big words, this simple song brings us all together by way of its immediacy.

How did you work through the mountains of archive material owned by the Istituto Luce and RAI?
There was a brilliant partnership at work in this respect, right from the pre-production phase. Istituto Luce, who co-produced the film alongside Palomar Doc and RAI Documentari, gave us access to their archives, as did RAI. It’s a real national, audiovisual treasure trove, which is probably undervalued from a historic point of view. Yet the Luce Archive covers all the key moments in the Second World War and in the Resistance. We also found real gems, such as footage in France of when the Peace Treaty was signed in 1951, where everyone is singing Bella Ciao.

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(Traducción del italiano)

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