i-ItalyNY - 2014-06 - page 8

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WALTERVELTRONI INNEWYORKTOPRESENTHISFILMABOUTENRICOBERLINGUER
ExplainingthePuzzle
ofItalianCommunism
Formercommunist
leaderandMayor
ofRome, laterthe
foundingleader
ofItaly’sDemocratic
Party,WalterVeltroni,
—alife-longpassion
forcinema—madehis
directorialdebutwith
adocumentaryabout
EnricoBerlinguer, the
nationalSecretaryof
theItalianCommunist
Partyfrom1972to1984.
by Bianca Soria
●●
In the 1980s, journalist, politician and
former Mayor of RomeWalter Veltroni was
one of the national leaders of the Italian
Communist Party. In the early 1990s, he was
the founding leader of the Democratic Party.
Last month,Veltroni was at Casa Italiana
Zerilli-Marimò of NewYork University to
present his directorial debut: a documentary
about Enrico Berlinguer, the national
Secretary of the Italian Communist Party
from 1972 to 1984.The docufilm,
Quando
c’era Berlinguer
(When Berlinguer was with
us), brings together Veltroni’s two lifelong
passions: cinema and politics.
Professor Stefano Albertini, Director of Casa
Italiana, interviewd Mr.Veltroni for i-ItalyTV
and their conversation will be broadcast in
June in our weekend show “i-ItalyNY” on
NYCTV (Channel 25). Here are some excerpts
from the show, starting with a piece of
biographic information about Mr.Veltroni:
at the age of eighteen, he had to choose
between pursuing cinema or politics—and
the emergence of Enrico Berlinguer on the
Italian political scene played a large part in
his opting for the latter.
“I come from a family whose political ideals
weren’t communist but quite democratic,”
says Veltroni. “My grandfather had been
incarcerated and tortured by the fascists…
at home we were yearning for freedom
and justice. Berlinguer’s real historical
importance lies in his intention and ability
to change the Communist Party by making
it more independent from the Soviet
Union. I was someone who loved America
and admired the Kennedys. A pro-Soviet
communist movement wouldn’t have
worked for me.”
One of the world-famous episodes about
Berlinguer is a speech he gave in Moscow and
was later published on the front page of
The
NewYork Times
. In that speech the National
8
|
i-
Italyny
|
June-July 2014
|
Italian actor anddirector
Roberto Benigni (Academy
Award for Best Actor, 1999,
for his perfonrmance in
Life
Is Beautiful
) declared publicly
his admiration and personal love
for Enrico Berlinguer. Besides
playing themain character
inGiuseppe Bertolucci’s 1977
movie
Berlinguer ti voglio bene
(“Berlinguer I love you”),
in 1983 Benigni appearedduring
a political demonstration
of the ItalianCommunist Party,
taking inhis arms anddandling
Berlinguer.
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