Giuliana Minghelli, “Family Remains: An Essay Film on How We Remember Fascism”

Abstract: A presentation of Family Remains, an essay film on the legacy of Fascism in the memory of the author’s family, develops a critical reflection on the impact that the longue durée of the regime had (and still has) on personal and civic life in Italy. Through archival research, oral history and autoethnography, the film reconstructs emblematic life paths (the exiled anti-Fascist, the good Italian and the repubblichino killed by the partisans) and explores post-war forgetting of family histories. The paper argues for the importance of a history from below, a study of the lived experience (violence, silence, adaptation) and the moral climate and affectivity of the Fascist years to rethink Fascism and the way we remember it. While retracing the roots of Italy’s poverty of memory back to Fascism, three issues come to the fore: the question of Fascism’s spectacular optics as distinct from its historical visibility; the warped temporality of memory; and Fascism as an anthropological mutation which, by breaking down cultural transmission, became a trans-generational event.
Key Words: Fascism, anti-Fascism, memory, violence, shame, essay film, photography, autoethnography, oral history, memoirs.