Memoryscapes – The Red City

For the centennial of the Italian Communist Party foundation (PCI), Home Movies presents the outstanding and unpublished archive images about the PCI’s Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition – which was held in Bologna in Re Enzo Palace in the early Fifties – with added live sound by Guglielmo Pagnozzi, with a contribution by songwriter Pierpaolo Capovilla.

 

 

From the restored 8mm film – by militant filmmaker Angelo Marzadori– we are going to attend a virtual tour of the Exhibition that the viewer-visitor will be able to watch from the beginning until the end, literally losing themselves in the image and the values of the Left that used to be.

As we grasp from Marzadori’s exciting scenes during the inauguration and from the reports, the Exhibition – open to the public through January and February 1952 – was a most attended event by the Bologna citizens, which had the chance to dive into the “glorious” story of the PCI through the gigantic tableaux, the abundant photo and text apparatus, the enormous documentation and the many faces of both the famous people of the struggles and of common ones.

Giuseppe Dozza, then mayor of Bologna, wrote about the Exhibition:“It is not only the story of the workmen movement – in particular of our lands – which unfolds in front of our eyes since 1880, it is not just the story of a party – the Italian Communist Party -; it is now the story of our Country in its fundamental aspects, the story of classes – the working class as an ally to the farmers and the avant-garde intellectuals – that form the gist of modern life” ( Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition Publication Bologna). The future mayor Renato Zangheri also said: “With enthusiasm, Bologna greeted the celebration of the class fights and the victories of the people and the Communists. Specific claiming fights, general fights for a new asset of the Italian society, according to freedom and according to justice.”

Angelo Marzadori, is very skilled in using the camera to make the Exhibition dynamic, filming, choosing and then editing together the most relevant parts and the details, lingering on the images and the texts, hence giving back to his future viewers (us, today) a vision of the world, filled with hope for the future and with deceits, but also a typical practicality from Emilia facing a present day to build “together” starting from a shared democratic heritage. Today, we cold bethink a lot about the glances full of enthusiasm of the citizen of Bologna visiting the exhibition.

The black and white images have been toned to red by Home Movies, to better render the Exhibition mood and to strengthen its symbolic value. The added music and sound effects enhance the lyricism of the images and ease its experience emotion-wise. The historical, political, cultural and anthropological interpretation is however essential to read these 70-year-old images, come to light after such a long oblivion, so filled with memories and propaganda.

 

Memoryscapes – The Red City is an event in collaboration with Historical Institute Parri – Bologna, Kiné and Le Serre Dei Giardini Margherita / Kilowatt e and falls into the project Memoryscapes / Private Cinema Online by Home Movies – Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia with the contribution of Regione Emilia Romagna and MiBACT.