|Stefania Rocca and Alessandro Preziosi|
When Edda Ciano landed on Lipari shores, sentenced to seclusion, it was September 1945. Five months after her father, Benito Mussolini, had been caught and killed by partisans (and hanged by his feet in Piazza Loreto, Milan) and 21 after her husband, Galeazzo Ciano, had been accused of betrayal and executed by her own father. She weighed 42 kilos, didn’t eat anything…she was there with the intention to let herself die.
To her Leonida Bongiorno - a partisan and a communist belonging to a strong tradition of anti-fascism, WWII survivor and Chief of Lipari Communist Party - would be, in the months to come and for the rest of her life, her saviour and her true love. Everybody around them warned them, they had no future , but they were tied by what should have separated them, they were united by their respective wounds, by their passion and by the illusion that love would help them to win adversities. Leonida risked his political credibility and his relationships with friends and family for his love for Countess Ciano, daughter of the man he had so deeply hated and fought against. He loved her against all odds and against common sense when she even boasted she had remained a fascist.
This is not fiction but historical truth turned into fiction in a novel by Marcello Sorgi now adapted for the TV screen (Raiuno). Both the novel and the TV movie are titled “Edda Ciano e il comunista”
After The Regency and The Victorian Age in English History, the historical period I’m most interested in is WWII. So, though I rarely watch Italian series or TV movies, I was really curious to see this one. And it was good. Alessandro Preziosi e Stefania Rocca were brilliant as the lovers beyond ideals and the natural setting was simply stunning. The script wasn’t too melodramatic either, as it may happen in these cases.
Did Edda and Leonida live happily ever after? Of course, they didn't. It is not a fairy-tale. In 1946, when under an amnesty signed by Palmiro Togliatti, Edda was free to leave Lipari and go back to her mother (Donna Rachele, played by excellent Ilaria Occhini) and hug back her own children, the affair was abruptedly interrupted, it couldn’t survive reality. They were too different and belonged to too distant worlds. They parted, then, but after months , they couldn’t resist the temptation of a final meeting. And it was aching and burningly passionate, both knew that was their last time. Their story had been crazy, overwhelming, thrilling but only possible in a fairy place, far from true life, like beautiful Lipari.
For once, well done Raiuno!