In her documentary ‘Do You Remember Revolution’, the Italian director Loredana Bianconi interviewed at length four women who actively participated in the Leftist Armed Struggle in the Italy of the 70ies. All of them were leading figures in the Red Brigades. One of them, Susanna, left the Brigades in 1975 to found Prima Linea. Bianconi opens her poignant film with a personal note, recalling the revolutionary years: "We participated in the same revolt. Utopia invaded the streets...." Then she cuts to archival images shot by Italian State TV. We see the four protagonists at their trial. Bianconi stripped the images of their incriminating soundtrack. She has no intention to judge their actions, nor their lives. Instead she has decided to listen. For the rest of the film she will stay manifestly absent. No sensational - and very few anecdotal - aspects of these women’s revolutionary lives are quoted. Instead the viewer gets to know their responses to questions they were dealing with, individually, for many years. They evoke the Italy of the beginning of the 70ies, in the aftermath of 68, the time of serious social unrest, class struggle and rebellion. These years were characterized by the anti-fascist movement, the student-demonstrations, the incidents with the IRA and ETA, the Vietnam-war and other events that marked a whole generation. Barbara, Nadia, Adriana and Susanna talk about their decision to join the armed struggle, a radical choice that required giving up most of what they had and putting at risk their very existence. They bring up issues they could not afford to talk about while living in clandestinity. They talk about the use of violence. Although the political discourse on the issue was crystal-clear, there’s a huge difference between consenting with a strategy, and actually carrying out that strategy. Susanna points out that politics can demand and justify actions, which are not necessarily ethically justified. They also talk about the mistakes, the crisis of the movement, their imprisonment and their pain. ‘Do You Remember Revolution’ shows us how four women look back at their common cause, not in a mythic, sloganesque nor apologetic discourse, but in a personal one. This documentary recorded four different ways of remembering and living with a common past.

This work has been digitised in the frame of DCA Project