“At that time, Enrico Mattei, was on the way to become a true leader of industry. He was director of ENI (i.e. the Italian Agency for petroleum and gas) and wanted also to document his experiences against the reactionary press and the Italian conservative groups, but above all to fight against the American influence in the extraction and refinery of liquid petroleum and gas in Italy. Mattei was in contact with the Proa production company (it’s president, Valli, was a friend of his) who made art documentaries and films of a social nature. Valentino Orsini and the Taviani brothers also worked for Proa and it was they who gave Mattei the name of Ivens for this documentary. Ivens did some background research before accepting. He also asked of several Italian friends, including several leaders of the Italian Communist Party for their opinion and advice. But he finally accepted with enthusiasm because Mattei, at that time, represented a positive example of State capitalism and the theme which had been proposed to him certainly interested him. When Ivens had finished the film, he let Mattei see it and Mattei liked it very much. There was absolutely no disagreement between the two. The problems arose with the staff of RAI (i.e. the Italian public Broadcasting company) who, as usual more Catholic than the Pope, feared the power of the Christian Democratic Party and that it would not appreciate a film on public television which showed Italy to be poor. They therefore asked Ivens to make cuts which he obviously refused to make. Indeed at that time he got other cameramen to shoot scenes, those in Gela, which were designed to create an idea of Sicily as a country which was absolutely false and saccharined, filming sicilian carts. The situation became much more complex because Mattei at this time was in an extremely difficult political and economical position. For this reason, he was forced, though reluctantly, to abandon Ivens and the fate of the film. Ivens feared that the original film would be lost and therefore thought up a strategy. As I, a Cinémathèque Francaise trainee, had access to a diplomatic bag, I smuggled the film into France by using this privilege”.