SABOTEURS by Nico Guidetti and Matthias Durchfeld
Documentary 70’ – color
Festivals and Awards
2015 Parma Film Festival – Cinema, Storia e Memoria dalla Grande Guerra alla Liberazione
Parma (Italy), 8 – 19 october
2015 – Modena viaemili@docfest
Modena (Italy), 5 – 8 november
Doc 70′ – color
in collaboration with
With the support of
EMILIA ROMAGNA FILM COMMISSION
Original music composed and performed by
The Quartiere Violini di Santa Vittoria band
Valeria La Pietra
A footpath in the woods, silence. Sunlight shines through the branches and leaves of the trees. At First far away, almost undetectable, then it grows ever more present. It’s the sound of footsteps, the shortness of breaths, and low voices.
There are almost a hundred people walking. They walk once more around some of the old mountains paths, once crossed between the winter of 1943 and the spring of ’45, by Italian partisans, in the fight against the nazi-fascist enemy. Along the way, when they take a break, they meet a few old “rebels” that are still alive. It will be a mutual exchange that interacts between several European countries, between the past and the present.
Only by returning to these places where these stories took place, it is possible to understand what the burning desire of justice that drove the partisans to fight, was like. You need to visit, and listen to the places to understand how difficult the choice would have been on whether to become a partisan: the suffering that it entailed, the fear of death, the hope for a different future, one of equality.
A dream built with the power of reason and solidarity, founded by a group of freedom seeking men and women.
The film, in particular, gives an account of the story of Fernando Cavazzini, an old man, an ex-partisan in Reggio Emilia, who was the head of the Saboteurs Devil’s Squad with the battle name of Toni. He remains one of the most important witnesses of the ” Partisans’ Paths”. His story is intertwined with the tales of the other “saboteurs”: Tanja, is a young woman, an educator from Hamburg who is active in social politics, she lives in a collective housing project and comes every year to Italy to take part in the “Partisans’ Paths” walk. Next, there is Steffen’s story, a thirty year old man from Pirna, near Dresden, one of the German neo-nazi groups strongholds. It is here where he founded more than ten years ago the cultural association Akubiz, which gathers young people to get involved in numerous anti-racist and anti-fascist cultural events; he has also been for many years, a frequent visitor on the “Partisans’ Paths” in Italy. And finally, Stefano, who lives in a “suburb” outside Paris where he continues his work as a “socially active” musician.
In 1993 the first meeting of the “Partisans’ Paths” took place, that would later become an annual event in the Apennines mountains near Reggio Emilia in Italy. Since 1993, every year this walk, organized by Istoreco (The Historical Institute for the Resistance of Reggio Emilia), has had increasing success, and we hope this will also happen to the film, with the allegiance to support old and new stories of the Resistance.
Saboteurs was realised thanks the help of many supporters who had contribuited at the film by the crowdfunding www.ulule.com/sabotatori
NOTE OF ARTISTIC INTENT
The project was created because of two different needs: the first was the urgency to talk about future anti-fascism, when, for obvious demographic reasons, there will be no longer be anymore living witnesses of the partisan struggle; we view the men and women who were the protagonists. The second was the desire to recount the experience of the Partisans’ Paths, an annual event organized in September, where a hundred participants of all ages (many young) for four days trail through the Apennines Reggiano paths, once beaten by the partisan brigades from the end of 1943 to 1945; they meet as witnesses, some of them protagonists of that time. The peculiarity of the Partisans’ Paths is that most of the participants (numerous every year) come from Germany or Austria, while very few are Italians. Which, when you come to think of it, is almost an historical time paradox: the grandchildren of the soldiers who were once on these paths to fight the partisans, now come back here to listen to them, and to learn about their stories and reflect their values. This peculiarity helped form the very structure of the film and made it necessary to have a European scope. The film moves between Germany, Italy and France and the story takes place over one summer, between June and September 2013, it’s 70 years to the day since the first partisans in September 1943 , began to organize troops in the Apennines. The story and characters that the film talks about, have a strong symbolic value, which is reflected in the title itself, and is the result of endless reflections and thoughts. The word sabotage means either (historically) the partisans like Toni, who operated (through explosives) to concretely “sabotage” the fascists and Nazis operations; or also (metaphorically) people like Tanja and Steffen and, in this way, Stefano who also translate this into their everyday idea of ”sabotage” against all there is today: this society, who no longer reflects the values of equality, democracy and participation, for which the partisans fought and died for at that time. Anti-fascism was born precisely as the people’s popular sentiment, as a collective dream of happiness and freedom that no type of fascism could ever have had or could ever hinder. The Saboteurs wonder about this continuity between the anti-fascism of yesterday and those of today. A continuity that, in our opinion, exists and is tangible. It certainly mutates certain contexts, it changes the personal experiences of every one of them, and yet there are close ties and common values that go beyond the historical events. In fact, it’s this change that gives continuity to certain feelings, and allows the recognition with deep certainty into the roots of Antifascism and in the beauty of these strange stories of yesterday and today.