In 1944, British officer Norman Lewis participated in the landing at Salerno and the liberation of Naples by the Allied Forces, later telling his experience in a detailed diary, Naples '44. Francesco Patierno approaches to the words of Lewis, read in the version English by Benedict Cumberbatch and the Italian Adriano Giannini, hundreds of archive images taken from the Istituto Luce archives but also, among others, Getty images and British PathA. What emerges is a visual story of an Italy Southern exhausted by the war, so the arrival of the Allies has been as much a liberation as a threat to its integrity. Naples '44 describes the misery, hunger and humiliation of the Neapolitans through a wealth of evidence, as well as those taken from the documentary also clips from The Four days of Naples and Catch 22 , Paisa and who hesitates is lost , the skin and the King of Poggioreale , to name just some highlights. The comment in voice out of range of an Anglo-Saxon who observes reality devastated with eyes of an entomologist, even more than an anthropologist, arouses in the spectator a deep sense of unease, not unlike the shame that many Italians have tried to compare their miserable condition with being represented (and sometimes ostentatious) by the Allied troops. The joy of the end of the war approached the mortification of an entire city committed to contend for cigarettes and chocolate launched by the Anglo-Saxon jeep, or sell their bodies for a ration can or a pair of silk stockings. But in the eyes of Lewis there is no condescension or cruelty, only a deep piety and a genuine affection for the characters as 'uncle of Rome', which Patierno brilliantly depicts with images of Toto of Naples millionaire . His stay in the city reduced to a pile of rubble, populated by ghosts without shoes bundled up in clothes made from army blankets, assaulted by lice, typhoid and smallpox, is a journey in a circle of hell and at the same time deep humanity lesson. Above all, it is a heartfelt complaint but never melodramatic (because told with apparent detachment British) of the devastation caused by the war, any war, and the attack on human dignity that entails: the informants, the young ladies, children with hands outstretched, mass hallucinations are manifestations of what the human being finds himself becoming to ensure survival. And as always the black market and exploitation of people are in the desperation of others the best growth medium. But in Naples '44 there is no room for patetismi: the whole story, particularly thanks to the combination of skilful images chosen by Patierno the words of Lewis, is imbued with bitter irony and set of delicate tenderness for humanity in disarray, that even under the 'filthy crust of war' that had 'reported the Neapolitans in the Middle Ages' retains the will of resist. Could not run in thought to Aleppo of today, and not think about what war is always an intolerable abomination. Exceptional mounting Maria Valmori Fantastic, music by Andrea Guerra comments, and especially the iconographic research that unearths (is appropriate to say) an amount of unpublished material heartbreaking documentary power.
- Nov 29, 2017