Scen., M.: Nanni Moretti. F.: Alessandro Pesci, Giuseppe Baresi, Roberto Cimatti, Riccardo Gambacciani, Gherardo Gossi, Angelo Strano. Prod.: Angelo Barbagallo, Nanni Moretti per Sacher Film. DCP. Col.
Nanni Moretti gives us a lesson in journalism with these 60 minutes of film, shot during Communist party meetings after Occhetto proposed to change the name or the party and before agreements and disagreements consolidated into motions. He went to Genoa, Turin, Bologna, Milan, Rome, Tuscany and Sicily and filmed discussions that emphasised neither the distance of the camera nor the status of the speakers. His first lesson is to capture a unique moment: to surprise it as it emerges, uncertain and turbulent. The second is to focus on the body in the experiment and not the doctors who are operating; in other words, not the secretary, the leaders, the opinion makers, but the ordinary men and women whom the press rarely addresses, but only vaguely alludes to as a mass of resistance – people who only count collectively as a consensus in the service of the balance of power at the top. Normally, only those who stand out for their position in the hierarchy are singled out: Occhetto, or Musso, or Fassino, or the new secretary in Turin. In politics, opinion is measured by power. Moretti, on the other hand, concerns himself with the rest: the lives, faces and hands of those who constitute the base, a party without names.
The third lesson is a way of translating observation into montage. The film records deliberations that are anything but emotional. Not someone who says “it was all fine” before, because things have been going badly “for years”; at least now there is discussion. That these people weren’t “consulted” is not seen as a scandal – the base never is, and we reluctantly recall the ‘historic compromise’, the first crack in a sense of consolidated identity. […] This fragment of a thinking ‘base’ was documented only by Nanni Moretti, soberly and with a light touch – and for that we should be grateful.
Rossana Rossanda, “il manifesto”,
6 March 1990