After a year since the death of Lina Wertmüller, Rai Teche pays her tribute with the restoration of È una domenica sera di novembre, the documentary she made for Rai on the earthquake that shook the Irpinia territory on 23 November 1981, which aired a year later on RAI TV2.
“This poor South captivates me, stimulates me, land of wolves and kings, where I feel planted perhaps because of an Irpinian grandmother. This deep South, the part with the least, left behind. Alone, that always feels at disadvantage from the others. This unknown South that everybody think they know, and therefore feel entitled to define, judge, maybe condemn and when a catastrophe like the earthquake brings it up again, you realise that you know nothing at all about that South, that it is a continent as distant as the Third World, but with the space and nature of other third worlds”.
Lina Wertmüller, in this South of hers, returns in the aftermath of the earthquake, proposing a dense work, aimed at taking stock of the situation to prevent the ruins from risking burying the southern question once again. The investigation proposes the first news, then the tragic images from the regional and national Rai news and focuses on the first reconstruction operations, on the sense of sudden and inevitable loss of the survivors, on the places and houses destroyed, on the defeats but also on the victories of the rescuers for each person torn from the ruins.
On the edge of the earthquake, the investigation not only keeps the focus on the tragedy and the difficulty of the reconstruction over the years, but also offers a rich look at Southern Italy through its facets, pagan liturgies and mysteries.
In the documentary, which was realised with sociologist De Masi’s consultancy, the chronicle narrated by the protagonists involved is intertwined with Lina Wertmüller and Piera degli Esposti’s readings of the comments on the South made by Alberto Moravia, Carlo Levi, Furio Colombo, Alberto Ronchey, Giampaolo Pansa and the passages taken from the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Pliny the Younger, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Giacomo Leopardi, then to end with a final interview with Martin Scorsese who has dedicated much of his film production to the world of Italian Americans.
The tribute to Lina Wertmüller includes also an installation in Palazzo della Radio in Via Verdi 31 dedicated to the director’s Rai radio and television productions: from “Il giornalino di Gian Burrasca” whose original scripts have recently been found, to the radio adaptations of variety shows in which she took part as author.
For Rai Teche – explains the director of Rai Teche Andrea Sassano – it is a pride to confirm, many years later and through operations of digital restorations, what the director hoped for about this television work, namely that it would be a document that remains: “It is my dream. Because this information that calls everyone to bear witness to everyday life scares me.
Because it presses with catastrophes, tragedies, wars and the powerful wave of mass media erases everything immediately after. Here, we must find a knowledge that is not only daily, but that lasts over time… that it becomes a matter of roots of the whole country. In short, let us remember that the future is ancient”.