9,5mm. D.: 20’ a 16 f/s. Bn
The director of the film – made with a 9.5mm camera for the 3rd Photographers Section, 8th Army Command – was second lieutenant Enrico Chierici (1914-2001), a photographer and filmmaker from Genoa who served in the army working for Genio Fotografi. This film about the Russian expedition, like other 9.5mm and 16mm movies, belongs to the Fondo Fratelli Chierici preserved at the Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia. A unique film directed and edited by Chierici who kept the originals. The scenes from the invasion, the places the convoy travels through, all show signs of destruction, but the war is really felt in the eyes of the soldiers, the prisoners, the deported captured by the camera.
The images depict a journey that started on June 9, 1942 in Bologna and document its various stages in Austria, Germany, Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. The images of the landscape and the stations alternate with those of military life. The camera pauses on the young prisoners’ life while they work on the stations before documenting the convoy’s arrival on June 13 at Brest-Litovsk, in Belarus, and the crossing of Bug River. During one of the stops, teams of girls are working along the rails. In Stolpce the first signs of the war’s dramatic impact can be seen, something that will become more evident shot after shot. The convoy goes through the station of Niegoraloje, a large city just before Minsk, and sees that it is completely destroyed. There are images of the remains of two trains, one German and the other Russian, that exploded and destroyed the train station. The film continues with shots of a barber at work during a rest stop and the photo lab truck. The journey progresses, and the landscape changes: the countryside, the villages right before Babruysk, where they arrive on June 14. Here they find a deportation train filled with Russian Jews, men, women, kids, waiting at the station. Chierici films them. They cross the Berezina and Druc rivers: the remains of train wagons dot the fields. Bridges and railways demolished by the Russians during the retreat to the Dnieper, near Zhlobin. The convoy enters Gomel, on the Ukrainian border, on June 14. Two airplanes are seen flying over the airfield. The film moves onto an industrial area: more train wagons filled with old pieces from other trains. The last part of the movie is shot in Ukraine: the convoy goes through Merefa, south of Kharkov, on June 16, and arrives in the industrial area of Dnepropetrovsk on June 20. The camera captures factories, industrial plants, silos, mills, the market, and the surrounding country. The journey continues to Stalino and Makeyevka where the convoy arrives on June 22 at eight o’clock in the evening. The trip from Bologna to Makeyevka, Ukraine, lasts 15 days and covers 3500 kilometers.