La lunga calza verde is a scholarly, unrhetorical commercial on Italian Risorgimento. It was conceived by Cesare Zavattini, “King of Commercials” Roberto Gavioli, and studio Gamma Film. This small masterpiece picked up many awards at the time of its release – i.e., of the Italian unification centennial – only to be soon forgotten. It is based on one of Zavattini’s never-realized projects, Buongiorno Italia, a grotesque account of an ordinary day in Italy. It shows originality – though no sternness or disrespect – in telling the history, past and present, of Italy, which was then experiencing the greatest economic boom it had ever known.

In L’eroe dei due mondi, Garibaldi is sitting on a rock on Caprera Island, recalling the most important events of his life. Suddenly a storm comes and the waves crash over a fishing boat. Garibaldi offers hospitality to a young castaway. While helping him finding his father and his two older brothers – hopefully they have survived the storm! – Garibaldi recounts for his little friend his adventures.


Sometimes it seems that there is no harder matter today than telling History. During the past centuries and millennia, poets, writers and artists often set their works against the background of more or less important historical events, but today we seem to be pervaded by strange fears.
This reluctance is well-founded to some extent. Contemporary historiography has very much insisted on the problem of reliability and accuracy of sources and documents, rightfully arguing against the instrumental use of history facts.
However, we must not exceed the other way round either. Few things are so beautiful and exciting as History itself, and it can be very profitable to unconcernedly play with it.
That is the lesson taught by the two animation films we are presenting here. Manuli’s Garibaldi and Gavioli’s creatively chaotic Italy surely do not go by the history book. Nevertheless, these works are in a way more truthful and meaningful than many unobjectionable essays. Furthermore, they tell us something about the way our Country lived and interpreted its own past. Because any document – no matter if it is an audiovisual or a paper one – can be true without being truthful, but it can also be truthful but not true.
But, of course, that is another (hi)story…

(Beppe Attene)

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