Iorio / Cuomo

a selection
of past and ongoing projects:

Chronicles of that time
Undead Voices
Appunti del passaggio
From thousands of possibilities
Twisted Realism
Towards a history
of the vanishing present


Jamii ya
A cinema situation
Unfinished histories

About / Contact

From thousands of possibilities




Source documents

Before the Revolution. Notes on Italian Militant Cinema
a presentation by Annamaria Licciardello

Self Made Urbanism Rome.
Informal Common Ground of a Metropolitan Area

Exhibition views

From thousands of possibilities brings together a video, a slide-projection decomposing sequences of post-WWII Italian cinema classics, as well as the display of a selection of books and magazines, historical sources and research material that both invite to share readings and to retrace the working process itself.

Remains of the makeshift homes that spread along the Felice Aqueduct in the Mandrione quarter of Rome in the post-war period are still visible nowadays. Back then, these shantytowns inspired neorealist culture – but critical commentators like Pier Paolo Pasolini remarked that neorealism reached crisis point when it attempted to confront and depict this squalid situation. The shantytowns that proliferated in the peripheries of the major Italian cities in the industrial North and in Rome as a result of intense internal migration became the subject of films and other cultural productions, as well as “documentary” enquiries often instrumentalising this reality for political ends or essentialising the nature of their inhabitants as primitive, contradictory, and immutable. By the end of the 1960s, contradicting these clichés, the inhabitants of the informal settlements became protagonists of urban struggles and developed forms of collective organisation and direct action.

Looking back on a little-known episode of these struggles From thousands of possibilities examines a filmic document found in the Archivio del movimento operaio e democratico in Rome. The raw footage records the squatting of a house and occupation of a street in the centre of Rome by a group of baraccati, inhabitants of the shacks, in November 1970. A gesture of an occupant, a young woman hiding her face from the camera, became the starting point of the artists research that attempts to reconstruct the course of this past event as well as to manifest the present material conditions that allow this reconstruction. Beginning in the Cinema America, a former movie theatre currently occupied by squatters, the video evokes the transformations and struggles that have shaped the metropolitan space, and traces different physical displacements between the center and peripheries, including the exclusion of the lower-classes from the city center during fascism when the regime conducted the sventramenti* in the 1920s or the expeditions of a mobile upper class, especially journalists and intellectuals reporting on the situation they encountered in the remote peripheries. Thus From thousands of possibilities comments on a series of “looking relations” – relations of the gaze – also occuring when the baraccati reversed the movement and became visible in the city center, fighting for their self-determination.

*literaly, „disemboweling“: the process of demolition of lower-class housing, excavation of ruins of the ancient imperial Rome, and construction of large piazzas and avenues suitable for mass demonstrations and parades in the centre of Rome.

Before the Revolution. Notes on Italian Militant Cinema
Presentation by Annamaria Licciardello at Les Complices, Zürich, CH,
14 June 2014
. Above: still from Il fitto dei padroni non lo paghiamo più, by Videobase, 1972

The outbreak of the student movement in 1968 started a ten-year period of social and political confrontation in Italy that had no equal in the rest of Europe. All sectors of society and all aspects of personal life underwent attempts to change, criticise and revolt. How to represent this multi-faceted movement? How to communicate and disseminate the workers’ struggles, the new forms of organisations, the urgency of revolution? Whose voice should finally be heard? The need for counter information on one hand and for self-representation on the other led to the proliferation of groups and experiences of the, so-called, militant cinema. Even if few traces have remained of it in comparison to the well-known American or French militant cinema, in the late 60s and 70s, it had some (non-commercial) distribution and a place in the theoretical and critical debate. Strongly rooted in that specific historical moment, in the revolutionary momentum and its subsequent failure, Italian militant cinema fell into obscurity in the following decades. These notes try to sketch a reconstruction of this unwritten page of the history of the moving image in Italy.