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Giulia Giapponesi

Bella Ciao

Today a large number of young people around the world know Bella Ciao as the soundtrack to the Spanish Netflix series La Casa de Papel, which since 2018 has turned this song into an international hit, a target of dance and techno remixes, and an inspiration for covers by artists around the world.

Below the Bella Ciao videos on YouTube, both teens and adults daily drop comments speaking about their love for Bella Ciao and for the TV series. Sometimes, you can find comments from Italian users complaining about a “disrespectful” use of the partisan song, but also, on the other hand, they thank La Casa de Papel for bringing a song from our country to the world stage.

But is its worldwide success really thanks to La Casa de Papel?

The idea behind the film comes from the need to retrace the biographical path of Bella Ciao as it became an international song. Today this necessity becomes more insistent, in this moment of transition in which the Memory of World War II – as told by those who lived through the Nazi-Fascist occupation – are giving way to History, intended as a story of the past through documentary sources.

The story of Bella Ciao is closely related to the history of our country. Its spread began during the war, but especially in the years of the economic boom, when Bella Ciao became known worldwide thanks to the “Festival della Giovetù”, reaching that international success now attributed to Netflix.

In this documentary, supported by never-before-seen archival material and news footage from around the world, the memories of surviving Resistance witnesses merge with those of activists who sing Bella Ciao in their protests in Chile, Turkey, Iraq, and Kurdistan.

Through lively conversations with historians, musicians and the song’s lyricists, a great truth emerges, already expressed within the pages of The Postman: “Poetry does not belong to those who write it, but to those who serve them.”

Bella Ciao is sad, cheerful, and its melody conquers people far apart both geographically and in age and social background. Its universal message of freedom lies in its simplicity and beauty, traits that help it overcome cultural and language barriers.

With a fast pace, the film’s plurality of voices and points of view tells us that this song, without author or country, is today a heritage of all those who feel oppressed and reminds us that the greatest tribute to the memory of the Resistance is to keep fighting for freedom.

Giulia Giapponesi
Bella Ciao

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