|One line synopsis||The life and work of the Jewish Italian writer, painter and anti-Fascist activist, Carlo Levi (1902-1975), illustrated with extracts from Francesco Rosi’s 1978 version of Cristo si è fermato a Eboli.|
Views of Aliano, black and white footage of men and women in donkey carts, farmers, more views of the town. Commentary quotes: "Christ did not come. Christ stopped at Eboli." Painting of woman and little boy alongside view over the town. Photograph of Carlo Levi. Extract from Cristo si è fermato a Eboli / Christ Stopped at Eboli (Francesco Rosi, 1978): Levi in the town; local people going about their daily activities. Men skinning a goat. One explains to Levi that the goats must all be killed because they are being taxed and this will destroy the people’s livelihood. Rally of members of the Lega Lombarda who want a state separate from the region, starting south of Rome. Footage from the early part of the 20th century. Photograph of Levi, born 1902, as a boy. Photograph of Levi’s mother. Stefano Levi della Torre, Levi’s nephew in front of painting of Levi’s father, Ercole. He explains that Levi’s uncle, Claudio Treves, one of the founders of the Italian Socialist Party, suggested that Levi should not be circumcised because this was "barbarous" though this caused arguments with the more working class elements of the family. Photograph of the Levi family. Photograph of Levi as a young man. Levi in his studio. Painting and photograph of his mother, photograph of the Levi family in Venice, portraits, intercut with early traffic scenes, Fascist rallies, gymnastic displays, military manoeuvres, etc. Vittorio Foa talks about the growth of anti-Fascism. Newspapers and posters for the anti-Fascist organisation Giustizia e Libertà which Levi joined. Paris, where the organisation was based, in the 1930s. VO reading letter from Levi to his mother (1933) describing anti-German policies by Jewish shops in France. Antonio del Guercio talking about Levi’s joining "the Jewish Disapora school of painting" (examples of the work of Pascin, Soutine, Chagall and Modigliani, all working in Paris) which he describes as a world of dreaming. Paintings by Levi who went back to Turin and set up "The Six" (I Sei Pittori di Torino), a group opposed to the nationalist art promoted by Mussolini. Fascist paintings; films of rallies. Foa.describes how Levi calmed him down by painting his portrait at a time when they both knew they were likely to be arrested. Foa’s VO continues over shot of the portrait. Guido Soldati, Levi’s nephew about Levi being arrested, asking to finish his painting for the cover of Mario Soldati’s book, America, before they took him away, and using this time to destroy some compromising documents. Levis’s police record from 1934. Paintings. VO quoting document by Levi in which he asks not to be sent somewhere where conditions would make it impossible for him to continue painting. Commentary says Levi was sent to Lucania, in the far south. Landscape, aerial view of the barren countryside, view of Aliano. Christ Stopped at Eboli extract shows Levi arriving by car.Original film of townspeople. VO of Raffaele Giura Longo, historian, describing the poverty and endemic illnesses of the region. Giura Longo talking, and more 1930s film of local people. VO reading Levi’s description of how he had to employ his medical training. The house Levi lived in. Some of his paintings, portraits, landscape and still life. VO rears one of his letters to his mother. Photograph of landowners; contemporary film of local people. VO reads from Christ Stopped at Eboli novel about the local doctor. Extract from Christ Stopped at Eboli film: townspeople being stirred up against the English. Photo of townspeople from 1930s. Giura Longo points out that Levi distinguished between gentry who were actively political for one reason or another and peasants.who were indifferent to the Fascist regime. VO continues over shots of townspeople today. Levi’s words about the attitude of the peasants read over. Giovanni Russo, writer, says that the peasants sympathised with Levi as they felt they suffered similar persecution and injustice. Photograph of Levi and his dog. Russo’s VO continues. Extract from Christ Stopped at Eboli with Levi painting peasant woman who tells him he should learn witchcraft. A wall of Levi’s portraits. Actor’s VO continues.
Extract from Christ Stopped at Eboli with Levi saying goodbye to a visitor and then surrounded by local children. VO of Stefano Levi della Torre explaining that, in fact, this exile was one of the happiest times of his life. Levi della Torre says that Levi rediscovered links with the old world his father had come from, and "a love for the ancient, irrational and mythical". Photograph of Ercole with very young Carlo. Cemetery. Levi’s words over describing the character’s meeting with a gravedigger. Original 1930s footage of military aircraft, bombings, troops marching, etc.
|Running time||39 minutes|
Thanks to Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico, Rome,
|Film segment||Carlo Levi Stopped Here - ACE243.2|
|Carlo Levi Stopped Here - ACE243.3|
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|Carlo Levi Stopped Here - ACE243.5|
|Web address (URL)||https://player.bfi.org.uk/free|