If Only I Were That Warrior:
A Documentary Film by Valerio Ciriaci
The Vito Marcantonio Forum proudly presents: If Only I Were That Warrior, with a Q & A with its director, Valerio Ciriaci
If Only I Were That Warrior explores Italy’s Fascist government’s near-forgotten invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, which was spurred on by Mussolini’s lust to avenge the Ethiopian people’s successful defense of their independence by defeating, in 1896, the Italian Army at Adwa. The second invasion smashed Ethiopia’s resistance through overwhelming force aided by the use of poison gas and other atrocious methods. If Only I Were That Warrior is in Italian with English subtitles.
The documentary deftly illuminates this event through an exploration of the reaction—in Italy, Ethiopia, and the United States—to the erection of a monument to the leader of the Fascist invasion, General Rodolfo Graziani, in his hometown outside of Rome. Valerio Ciriaci’s daring direction advances this complex story by moving from Italy to Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian community in the United States. Isaak Lipzin’s photography presents stunning tableaux of these contrasting backgrounds. Along the way, we meet unforgettable Italians and Ethiopians determined that fascist victories not be celebrated. In a very real sense, If Only I Were That Warrior is the Italian-Ethiopian analog to Ken Burnes and Lynn Novic’s Viet Nam War, and like that masterpiece, it alludes to a chance for reconciliation. In this way, Ciriaci and his colleagues have created a transcendent and important work. Gerald Meyer
Free Admission; Light refreshments
Upcoming Event: The VMF / Chelsea Rising Reading Circle, on Wed. 10/18, 6:00 to 8:00, in Penn South’s Community Room 339, W 24thSt., will continue its study of Annette T. Rubinstein’s, I Vote My Conscience: Vito Marcantonio’s Debates, Speeches, and Writings.