People who have lived to 100 and more and the children of the combatants. These are the last witnesses of the First World War as fought on the Italian front. They experienced war in their own lands between the Isonzo and Adige rivers when the north east of Italy was at the same time the scene of battles and of domestic life. Whole families, often related to each other, found themselves on opposing sides through no fault of their own. Italians, Frenchmen, Britons, Americans, Czechs and Slovaks on one side were facing Austrians, Germans and Hungarians on the other. This is the unparalleled story of the Great War as told by the last survivors: the children of those years.
For these children, the war was a chance to taste English jam, to find snails for Frenchmen, to watch the airship Zeppelin, to meet writers like D’Annunzio and Hemingway, to witness the violence and atrocities of war and to survive the horrors of Spanish flu. But there was also the general hunger and suffering, anger and death, hope and liberation and finally peace. An epic marked also by the heroism of women.
These children recounting, without narrators and without voice-overs, this decisive chapter in our history. The events are divided into five acts: life before the war, its impact on the home while the fathers were at the front, the defeat at Caporetto and the retreat, victory and hopes betrayed.
The film is enhanced by footage and photographs of the period found in archives all over the world as well as by historical re-enactments and it also includes the original recording of italian General Armando Diaz’s victory speech.
The fruit of several years of painstaking research, the film collects the rare and irreplaceable first-hand accounts of a piece of history which now belongs to the collective memory of the Italian nation, of Europe and indeed of the entire world. While the recordings were being made, or shortly afterwards, almost all of the children”passed away. What remains of their dramas, their lives and their memories is this film. A final conscious legacy of inestimable value to us and to those who come after us. Around sixty stories of individuals and families which no book has ever told and will never be able to tell. A warning for us and for future generations. A timeless message of peace and tolerance.
Written, edited and directed by Alessandro Bettero
Length: 108 minutes
Languages: Italian (original), English (subtitles)