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The following DVDs have been made available by the Italian Cultural Institute for Australian Film Societies to screen free of charge until April 2012.

This is a great opportunity for film societies to program rare films from the Italian Cultural Institute celebrating the 150 years of Italian Unification.

The DVDs all have English subtitles and all rights have been granted by the Italian Cultural Institute.

Ma che storia (2010) which is a docufilm directed by Gianfranco Pannone looks particularly informative looking at the path to Italian unity via the use of newsreels and documentaries produced between 1910 and the 1980s. This film would be rarely seen.

The DVDs will be held and distributed by Suzanne Nunn in Victoria.

They will be posted out free by Suzanne and return post to be picked up by the film society.

Please allow 4 weeks booking time.

Bookings can be made by emailing Suzanne on sjnunn@ncable.net.au or by phone on 03 53412266.

La presa di Roma (1905) 6 mins

Rome 1870: a huge black and white reconstruction in seven scenes of the historical events of the breach of the Porta Pia by ‘bersaglieri’ soldiers on September 20, 1870 to complete the unification of Italy. The film, directed by Filoteo Alberini, recorded a crucial moment in the country’s recent history: the capture of Rome by the newly-formed Italian army and the election of the city as the country’s capital. General Carchidio is escorted under blindfold from Ponte Milvio to General Ermanno Kanzler of the Papal Army. Carchidio issues an ultimatum to surrender to Kanzler which is refused, and a breach in the city walls is stormed by troops.  The original film was comprised of seven scenes lasting approximately fifteen minutes in total, and was the first film with a complex plot. It was produced with the co-operation of the country’s Ministry of War. The first official projection was held in the anniversary of the breach in 1905.


Il Piccolo Garibaldino (1909) 9 mins

The film, produced by Filoteo Alberini and released in 1909 is a short drama about a young boy who is killed during the Spedizione dei Mille, a military campaign led by revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860 to defeat the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, an expedition aimed at unifying Italy. Both films were restored by the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematograf ia–Cineteca nazionale as part of a joint project between them and the Grand Orient of Italy to mark the bicentennial celebrations of the birth of Guiseppe Garibaldi.


San Michele aveva un gallo (1972) 90 mins

Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani

Set in 19th century Italy, the film tells the story of Giulio Manieri, a romantic idealist and leader of a anarchist group. Sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal activities, Italian International member Giulio Manieri holds on to his political ideals while struggling against madness in the loneliness of his prison cell. The brothers Taviani were inspired for the story by a short story written by Lev Tolstoj.


Quanto é bello murire acciso (1975)  85 mins

Directed by Ennio Lorenzini

The story of Carlo Pisacane, Baron of San Giovanni, Italian patriot and one of the first Italian socialist thinkers.  When Mazzini, undeterred by the failure of the abortive Milan rising on February 6, 1853, determined to organize an expedition to provoke a rising in the Neapolitan kingdom, Pisacane offered himself for the task, and sailed from Genoa with a few followers (including Giovanni Nicotera) on board the Cagliari steamer on June 25, 1857. They landed on the island of Ponza, where the guards were overpowered and some hundreds of prisoners liberated, and on 28 of the same month arrived at Sapri in Campania and attempted to reach the Cilento. But hardly any assistance from the inhabitants was forthcoming, and the invaders were quickly overpowered at Padula, Pisacane himself being brutally stabbed with a knife then killed at Sanza by angry locals who did not recognise him believing him to be a wandering gypsy who was stealing their food.  The title of the film refers to a folk Italian song.


Bronte, cronaca di un massacro (1972) 109 mins

Directed by Florestano Vancini

Starring Ivo Garrani, Mariano Rigillo, Ilija Dzuvalekovski

When Garibaldi lands in Marsala on 11th May 1860, Sicily rises up. In the figure of Garibaldi the Sicilian people see not only a liberator from the tyranny of the Bourbons, but also a liberator from the tyranny from the even worse tyranny of poverty. A new Italy is about to be born where the Italian of the North, Centre and South must recognize the new Fatherland.


Allonsanfan (1974) – Drama, 110 mins

Directed by Paolo & Vittorio Taviani.

Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Lea Massari and Mimsy Farmer

In the early 19th century, Lombard aristocrat Fulvio Imbriani (Marcello Matroianni), former political extremist who fought with Napoleon, is finally released from an Austrian jail after a long term sentence due to his involvement in the activities of a secret society. He would like to resume a normal life but his lover, Charlotte, and his former comrades talk him into taking part in a revolutionary cause in southern Italy. Being skeptical about the effectiveness of revolutionary actions, he does not stop his sister Esther from alerting the authorities. However, the trap set to stop the party fails, and while they are trying to flee first Charlotte and then Fulvio perish at the hands of soldiers and peasants.


Viva l’Italia! (1961) – History, 106 mins

Directed by Roberto Rossellini

Starring Renzo Ricci, Paolo Stoppa, Franco Interlenghi, Giovanna Ralli and Tina Louise.

Commissioned 50 years ago to mark the centenary of the Italian nation, Roberto Rossellini’s Viva l’Italia follows acclaimed revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi (Renzo Ricci) as he liberates southern Italy from the Bourbon monarchy. He follows Garibaldi through the most significant moments of his expedition until the iconic meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele II in Teano and his tearful departure for Caprera: episodes where historical and human truth merges into poetry.


Arrivano i bersaglieri (1980) Comedy, 120 mins

Directed by Luigi Magni

Starring Ugo Tognazzi, Giovanna Ralli, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Carlo Bagno.

On the date of the Piedmontese conquest of Rome (1870), Don Alfonso, a Bourbon officer, kills a ‘bersagliere’ and then finds shelter in the house of a fierce supporter of the Pope, Don Urbano, ignoring that he has killed his host’s very son. Don Alfonso falls in love with Olimpia, an Italian nationalist and don Urbano’s daughter. However, Olimpia is in love with ‘bersagliere’ Gustavo Martini, even though her relationship is strongly disapproved by her father. Don Prospero is in fact ready to marry Olimpia to Don Alfonso in exchange for his help in the organization of a desperate attempt to rescue Rome. Unfortunately, Don Prospero kills Alfonso by mistake, and only after he dies of a heart attack Olimpia and Gustavo are allowed to be together.


Piccolo mondo antico (1941) – Drama, 106 mins

Directed by Mario Soldati, produced by Carlo Ponti. Starring Alida Valli and Massimo Serato

Based on the 1895 novel by Antonio Fogazzaro, the action takes place during the Italian Risorgimento in a Lombardy occupied by the Austrians. Franco Maironi (Massimo Serato) is a young aristocrat in love with Luisa (Alida Valli), a humble clerk’s daughter, and decides to marry her against his grandmother’s wishes. The old lady disowns Franco and causes Luisa’s uncle to lose his job, as he was trying to help. Meanwhile Luisa gives birth to little Ombretta and Franco is forced to go to Turin in search of a job. During his absence, a terrible tragedy upsets Luisa’s life: her daughter drowns in Lake Como and the woman is driven to the brink of madness. Franco returns home for a short time but Luisa reacts coldly towards him. During the Second Italian War of Independence Franco becomes a volunteer soldier in the fight against the Austrians and meets his wife again by Lake Maggiore. Despite Luisa’s coldness, Franco is sure she still loves him and the two spend one last night together.


Ma che storia (2010) – Docufilm, 77 mins

Directed by Gianfranco Pannone

A tragicomic journey through the last 150 years of history via a long and tiring path towards Italian unity. The telling of this half epic is recounted via newsreels and documentaries produced between 1910 and the 1980s and held at the Luce Archive and which, not without rhetoric, span the history of the nation.

In terms of screenings in Victoria, Tasmania, W.A. and S.A. the Italian Institute of Culture asks you to please …

  1. Use the title “Special event: 150 years of Italian Unification
  2. Use the IIC Melbourne logo (click here to download it) on any publicity materials pertaining to the event
  3. Send a copy of your publicity material to Melissa Palombaro, Arts Administrator, Italian Institute of Culture, 233 Domain Road, South Yarra 3141, Ph: (03) 9820 2054, Email: melissa.palombaro@esteri.it
  4. Send the Italian Institute of Culture  a list of the screening dates and venues so that they can help publicise them on their website e-newsletter.

Click here to download the above information as a Word document