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From thousands of possibilities
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From thousands of possibilities
Before the Revolution. Notes on Italian Militant Cinema
a presentation by Annamaria Licciardello
Self Made Urbanism Rome.
Informal Common Ground of a Metropolitan Area
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.
From thousands of possibilities, 2013-2014
Single channel version - 36’00, color, 3 channels sound.
Language: Italian - English subtitles