Cinecittà Italian Docs: a season of UK Premieres at London’s Bertha DocHouse

Cinecittà Italian Docs: a season of UK Premieres at London’s Bertha DocHouse runs from 24th – 25th June 2023. Cinecitta Italian Docs features: Bella Ciao, Il Posto (A Steady Job) and Svegliami a Mezzanotte (Wake Me Up At Midnight).


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Songs can unite us, divide us, offer us hope, allow us to dream and spark our most profound memories, happy or sad. Since we created the first musical instrument some 60,000 years ago, or possibly longer, music has defined our hopes, dreams, aspirations, and sense of belonging and community. While some songs come and go with time, others last forever, reinventing themselves for every new generation; Bella Ciao is one of those songs.

Giulia Giapponesi’s fascinating documentary aims to uncover the hidden history behind a song that has become a powerful call for freedom and democracy, an anthem of protest and a reflection of Italian history and resistance. Bella Ciao takes us from the courage of young partisans during the Second World War to the music scene of the 1960s and the fight for freedom in Syria and Iraq as one song creates many stories. Giapponesi’s documentary attempts to explore the roots of Bella Ciao and its reinvention over time; however, like many songs that emerged from the mysterious mists of time, for example, You Are My Sunshine, the roots of Bella Ciao are ultimately far less important than its words, melody, place and purpose. Bella Ciao is a call for action, a love letter to courage, a celebration of love and a glowing example of the interface between music, song and the fight for freedom.   



Rating: 4 out of 5.

In 1961 Ermanno Olmi’s Il Posto introduced us to a young Italian ‘Domenico’ searching for a job for life. Watching Mattia Colombo and Gianluca Matarrese’s documentary ‘A Steady Job’, you could argue that little seems to have changed since 1961, particularly in Southern Italy. But the focus of Colombo and Matarrese’s lens is not the clerical world of Olmi’s film; it’s the public sector. Here we meet the thousands of hopeful aspiring nurses bussed in from around Southern Italy to undertake the examinations that all aspiring nurses and public sector workers must pass to land the steady job they dream of. But this is no easy process for our hopeful job seekers, as they vie for a small number of jobs in a crowd of thousands. Raffaele is our guide, the owner of a bus company running candidates from one mass examination to another to ensure they don’t need expensive overnight accommodation. Raffaele is himself a trained nurse, and he is about to face his biggest challenge as the Pandemic hits and healthcare recruitment faces an unprecedented crisis.

Mattia Colombo and Gianluca Matarrese’s person-centred documentary highlights the continued inequality between North and South Italy and the failings of a healthcare system desperately needing reform. Il Posto is, at its heart, a profoundly personal road trip exploring and debating themes of opportunity, employment, inequality and social policy in modern-day Italy.


Svegliami a mezzanotte (WAKE ME UP AT MIDNIGHT) 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Some documentaries are so personal, poetic and honest that they leave an indelible mark on all who watch them. Fuani Marino’s delicate, powerful, thought-provoking Svegliami a Mezzanotte is one of those documentaries. With a runtime of just over an hour, Marino takes us from her childhood to her twenties, motherhood and beyond as she explores her battle with mental health and the delicate nature of life and love. Through her writing and diary entries, Marino challenges us to explore the uncomfortable realities of living with a mental health condition, including the actions and feelings people consider and enact as they navigate the world around them. Her words are accompanied by silent photos, home videos and a stunning collection of images and film collated from the Instituto Luce film archive.

The intimacy on display in Wake Me Up Before Midnight is truly breathtaking as Marino shares her thoughts, battles and struggles through a film that shines a light on many of the uncomfortable realities of failing mental health while never losing sight of the importance of love and treatment in lighting the darkest corners of our complex minds.



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