Do You Remember Revolution

Documentary Film
116 minutes, colour, video, 1997.
Directed by: Loredana Bianconi

"In Italy, in the mid-seventies, Adriana, Barbara, Nadia and Susanna were 20 years old when they decided to join the armed struggle and leave behind their social life and their families in order to make the revolution the centre and the aim of their existence.Today they reappear, after many years in prison, and they try, each of them, to recount their own experiences. They speak about the political reasons which initially sustained them, the conflicts, the doubts, and the moments of being torn apart, which marked out their lives as women caught up in the vortex of war. A course of events which ended in the condemnation of the armed struggle and the pain of the lives that were destroyed - their victims' lives and their own."
Loredana Bianconi

In her documentary Do You Remember Revolution, the Italian director Loredana Bianconi interviewed at length four women who actively participated in the Leftist Armed Struggle in the Italy of the 70ies. All of them were leading figures in the Red Brigades. One of them, Susanna, left the Brigades in '75 to found Prima Linea.
Bianconi opens her poignant film with a personal note, recalling the revolutionary years: "We participated in the same revolt. Utopia invaded the streets...." Then she cuts to archival images shot by Italian State TV. We see the four protagonists at their trial. Bianconi stripped the images of their incriminating sound-track. It's clear. She has no intention to judge their actions, nor their lives. Instead she has decided to listen. So for the rest of the film she will stay manifestly absent.
Consequently we hear no sensational -- and very few anecdotal aspects of these women's revolutionary lives. Instead, we listen to answers on questions no judge ever asked them. Answers on questions they were dealing with, individually, for many years.
They evoke the Italy of the beginning of the 70ies, in the aftermath of 68. The times of serious social unrest and rebellion. The days of the class-struggle, of the fight against Capital, of the workers and student-demonstrations, of the anti-fascist movement, of the proletarian counter-power. The years of the IRA and ETA, of Angola, Vietnam, and Chile, of Che and Mao. In short: the days of the events that marked a whole generation.
Then, Barbara, Nadia, Adriana and Susanna talk about their decision to join the armed struggle. A decision that was all-demanding. A radical choice that required not only giving up most of what they had, but also put at risk their very existence. They bring up issues they simply could not afford to talk about while living in clandestinity, in the "eternal present". They talk about the use of violence. Although the political discourse on the issue was crystal-clear, there's a huge difference between consenting with a strategy, and actually carrying out that strategy. As Susanna points out: politics can demand and justify actions, which are not necessarily ethically justified. Urban guerrilla required that the border between politics and morality remained closed. As a matter of self-defence. They talk about the mistakes, the crisis of the movement, their imprisonment, their pain.
Do You Remember Revolution shows us how four exceptional women look back at their common cause. This is not a mythic, sloganesque, nor apologetic discourse, but a personal one. We hear four different ways of remembering, and living with, a common past. A past which today, everybody tells us to renounce, to reject, to forget.
Loredana Bianconi, and the four women in her film, remind us to have the courage to remember.

directed by: Loredana Bianconi; photography and camera: Alain Marcoen; sound: Thierry de Halleux; editor: Karine Pourtaud; sound mix: Thierry de Halleux and Michel Goossen; producer: Veronique Marit; Delegated producer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne; production: DERIVES; coproduction: ZDF, Wallonie Image Production, RTBF Liege; with the support of: Fonds Televisuel de la Communaute Francaise de Belgique et de la Region Wallone

Organised by City of Women in collaboration with Slovenian Cinematheque


20th October at 5pm - Cankarjev dom:


Loredana Bianconi (director of the documentary), Adriana Faranda and Susanna Ronconi (two of the four protagonists in Do You Remember Revolution in talk wirth journalist Mojca Drčar-Murko (Delo corespondent)-

Organised by City of Women in collaboration with Cankarjev dom

Date and time of event: 
Oct 19th 18:00
Place of event: 
Slovenska kinoteka
Date and time of event: 
Oct 20th 17:00
Place of event: 
Cankarjev dom, E 8/9 (Women in the Armed Struggle - round table)