Last month there was an article in the New York Times that has been on my mind ever since, “An Aria for Italy’s Unity Also Sounds Like an Elegy“. It talks about the festivities for the celebration of Italy’s 150 year birthday and how Bolzano had not planned on joining in. “Umberto Bossi, the leader of the Northern League, the most powerful party in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition, called the celebrations “useless, and a bit rhetorical,” and some of his party members have refused to stand for the national anthem. The leading Italian industrialists’ organization said it would be foolish to lose a workday to a national holiday amid the economic crisis.” So I guess they didn’t line up early to see “Noi Credevamo”?
In a way I wasn’t surprised. It always seems to me that, in Italy, people feel closer to their towns and regions than they do their country. Someone from Rome sees himself as Romano, and a woman from Florence is more Fiorentina than Italiana. Am I right? I’m hesitant to make these assumptions, but that’s the impression that I get. So how does a movie about Italy’s unification play in Italy? Does it mean anything personally to Italians?
I’ve been hearing about the division between the north and the south in Italy for a long time and I know that there are those that believe that one day they will be separated, but Giuliano Amato, a former prime minister who is the anniversary committee chairman said it well: “We need to stay together in order to keep arguing. If not, how can we keep arguing?”
And to quote my husband: “Maybe Italians won’t get excited about a movie about the unification, but they’d get very emotional about a movie about Italy in the World Cup.” Good point. Maybe war or revolution won’t ever unify Italians, but calcio (soccer) always will.
So how about it, Italians? Ditemelo. How do you feel about “Noi Credevamo?” Were there any stirrings of nationalism when you watched it? Or did you watch it at all?