“If only I were That warrior”: the Ciriaci’s documentary about fascist crimes in Ethiopia

IOIWTW_Still_5After twenty years of dictatorship, on April 25 1945 the fascism was defeated, its leaders were condemned and Mussolini was sent to death by firing squad. For all those Countries that were subjected to domination of Nazi-fascist violence, the 25th of April is the anniversary of Liberation. Italy’s Liberation day marked a fundamental passage in history from the end of that Regime, which was responsible of crimes and horrors of all kinds.  The historical genesis puts Fascism in Italy, which today still suffers significantly of its influences, but it also extended its terrible arm in the whole Europe and even beyond it. In fact in 1935 Mussolini authorized a new colonization in Africa, after the failures of 1896, giving power to General Rodolfo Graziani, named the Viceroy of Ethiopia, who used a violent and devious political, causing the death of thousands of lives, under the attacks by bombing, ordered by himself.

Once the war ended, he was found guilty of war crimes, but he didn’t get prosecuted, nor he didn’t pay for his sins and cruelty, except for just a few months in prison. Then he retired for the last years of his life in Affile, a small town near Rome.

IOIWTW_Poster_v5.1_MEDIUM_WINNERWith the documentary “If only I were That warrior”, the young Italian director Valerio Ciriaci tells the story that affected Affile, when in August 2012, 150.000 euro of public funding, intended to a playground, were instead used to erect a shrine in memory of the fascist General Rodolfo Graziani, that someone believed to be a hero. This episode sparked a national and international debate that has naturally raised the indignation of the Ethiopian community, that strongly wanted the monument to be removed. The Italian filmmaker who moved to New York, tells an almost unspoken Fascism, arousing the attention of the audience and inviting them to consider this historical and political phenomenon from a different perspective, bringing to mind those colonial crimes which are often omitted from history books in schools, in favor of a more historical “Italo-centric” memory. The documentary was filmed in Italy, Africa and USA, giving voice to several characters, each one with a different personal story, ethnicity and origin; at the same time, the director interviews and critically investigates the attitudes and pro-fascist and anti-fascist positions of some of the characters involved in this case.

This incredibly powerful film will offer a different point of view to the audience, that will  be able to have a complete vision of this issue. They will acquire progressively the  knowledge and different perceptions that will stimulate their own sensitivity.

The film won the 56th Festival dei Popoli in Florence and, after an intense tour in Italy, it will be screened on May 7, at the Addis Film Festival in Ethiopia, following London on May 13, to captivate the attention of the international press.

To give you an idea about Ciriaci’s documentary, here is the official trailer:


by Valentina Mannino

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