Auditorium DAMSLab > 14:45


Gideon Bachmann
Introduced by

Riccardo Costantini (Cinemazero)


Monday 27/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

In 1978, I made my second major political documentary film. In the meantime I had moved to Italy and become involved with Pasolini, Damiani, Giuseppe De Santis, Germi, and many other Italian political film makers. I had continued making documentary films on filmmakers, among these Ciao, Federico! about Federico Fellini. [The film was] called, on the basis of one of the things that Bertolucci says in the film, Eine Kamera Ist Kein Molotow-Cocktail. It was a film made, still, with the hope that politics could motivate young people and that films could be made to be a vehicle of such motivation… I still believed that films were an instrument of revolution… But of course, not only the films of the well-known feature filmmakers. The names mentioned above had made films with political messages all their lives, without causing much change in society. What I wanted to research with this documentary was whether a change could be made, through film, by a different form of it, by the non-professional, by the man in the street himself…
This was the time of the comitati di quartiere and of the cento-cinquanta ore, movements at a grassroots level that were calculated to arouse the simple city inhabitant to the fact that he or she, too, could be educated and could take an active part in the shaping of the media… I thought, with many at that time, that if we made those movies ourselves, if we didn’t see them up there, far away, remote on the silver screen, but had to work hard and research and shoot and edit and distribute them ourselves, they would touch people in their hearts, and through their hearts, in their minds…
Eine Kamera Ist Kein Molotow-Cocktail was being made for German television, and I had had to sell them on the idea of making a film about the cinema of the people by claiming that it would include material about so-called official political films, made by Italian film directors… My film about the cinema di quartiere turned into the life story of Damiano Damiani. Nevertheless, while making the film, we found that he was much more interested in working with us on a film on the cinema of the streets than being the subject of a standard biographical work. So what we did was make the film ostensibly about him, but make him – inside the film about him – do the things that we had wanted to do in the documentary…
My central question was: can a film be politically useful? Can a film cause social upheaval? Can a film cause people to act? Is cinema really such a force for change as has always been assumed, or can it only introduce new habits, new fashions, new obsessions?

Gideon Bachmann, Limits of Political Moviemaking: The Search for Solidarity. 30 years of personal quest (previously unpublished), 1996

Cast and Credits

DCP. D.: 45’. Col.


Film Notes

A short produced by Documento Film and shot in the Carso region near Trieste during the Christmas holidays of 1959. Its director believed it lost until three years ago when yours truly had the good fortune to discover a 35mm copy in excellent condition conserved in the archives of the Cineteca di Bologna. Giraldi, at the time a former film journalist who had moved to Rome and was working as an assistant director, produced an extremely personal, bittersweet ‘western’ fresco about his homeland. Through indelible images, Giuseppe Pinori – later a cinematographer for Nanni Moretti, Marco Tullio Giordana and the Taviani brothers – immortalised the hard, daily work of the fisherman and peasants of Santa Croce/Sveti Križ. A village experiencing rapid depopulation, squeezed between the border with Tito’s Yugoslavia and the plunging slopes of the Gulf of Trieste. The renowned Triestine critic Callisto Cosulich, who had also already moved to the capital, composed a lyrical voiceover commentary for the film.

Lorenzo Codelli

In this documentary, as well as in his magnificent fiction films, Carso is a veritable protagonist. I cannot forget the splendid Un anno di scuola, a film I love dearly and which I watched come into existence. Carso, for both Giraldi and I, became an irreplaceable character in the history of this period: a rugged land, like that of Scipio Slataper, which contrasts with the ‘old Europe’ of the city, where the kids address each other in polite and formal tones. Watching this documentary, I cannot fail to recall the magnificent Carso, which appears in a film that I consider one of Giraldi’s authentic masterpieces, La frontiera. A beautiful film, perhaps his best.

Claudio Magris

Cast and Credits

F.: Giuseppe Pinotti. DCP. D.: 11’. Col.