EXCLUSIVE: Istituto Luce-Cinecittà is joining Rai and Palomar on the documentary about famous Italian resistance song Bella Ciao, which recently featured in Netflix series Money Heist.
Bella Ciao – The History Beyond The Myth now combines three of Italy’s leading production players. The team has begun filming in Italy and is aiming to begin overseas production this fall.
Director Giulia Giapponesi will travel to countries where the Italian song has taken roots, including the U.S., Chile, France, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iraq, and Spain, where the song has been given new impetus by Money Heist.
Bella Ciao is an Italian protest folk song that originated in the late 19th century, sung by the mondina workers in protest against the harsh working conditions in the paddy fields of North Italy. The song was modified and adopted as an anthem of the anti-fascist resistance during the Second World War.
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Creative Producer of Palomar Doc Andrea Romeo said of the film: “In Italy we have finished an important section of the shooting, aimed at tracing the mysterious origin of Bella Ciao with contributions from leading scholars. We have also come into possession of unpublished evidence and documents that add pieces to a complex and jagged puzzle. Now we are focusing on recording the tales of those who have experienced the consequences of this song and who are currently fighting for freedom.”
“Bella Ciao is the first of a new series of great international documentaries that will represent Italy throughout the world and we are very proud of this highly prestigious co-production, said Duilio Giammaria, director of Rai Documentari.
“The collaboration between Rai Documentari and the renowned production Palomar is a confirmation of the role that Luce-Cinecittà can and must play in the documentary ecosystem,” added CEO of Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, Nicola Maccanico.
“There is widespread attention around documentary filmmaking right now, which implies a renewed responsibility in our society to create films that can be useful in promoting Italian history. We want to sustain producers who want to explore these contemporary themes, which we also hope the public will want to engage with.”
Italian vet Maccanico left Sky Italia earlier this year to became MD of Italy’s Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, the state film entity that operates Rome’s expanding Cinecittà Studios. The iconic Studios are in the process of getting a revamp.
Director Giulia Giapponesi said of the film: “The people we are interviewing struck us for their humanity and their courage. Ordinary people who chose to use Bella Ciao to change something in their countries and they’ve often been persecuted for this. These stories are at the heart of the documentary. The other part of the documentary is made up by the stories of people who spend their lives trying to save songs and chants from oblivion, like the great ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, a pioneer in the recording of folk songs all over the world.”
She continued: “This human mosaic displays a picture where different stories of people of all backgrounds and beliefs became one story of a universal symbol of freedom and resistance, a song which is really a myth beyond history.”