The Resolute (Il Risoluto)

The Resolute (Il Risoluto)

Giovanni Donfrancesco
Italy/France
2017
159 minutes

Retired with his wife in a house in the Vermont woods, Piero Bonamico, an old Italian in his late eighties, lives a quiet secluded life reading, cooking, tending to the garden, and singing every Sunday in his presbyterian church’s choir. But when he meets filmmaker Giovanni Donfrancesco, he seizes the occasion to look back on his long and eventful life. Suddenly, 70 years of silence is broken, and a past which has been hidden from all around him emerges. Suppressed wartime memories trigger recollections of his inconvenient past as an adolescent soldier: at age 15, like other poor teenagers, he enrolled in the Genovese ranks of the Decima Mas, one of the most violent fascist militias headed by Chief Bottero. Sitting with Donfrancesco in the basement of his house, Piero speaks about the popular devotion to Mussolini, recalls daily extortions and executions perpetrated by militiamen, as well as an encounter with infamous Black Prince Borghese (leader of the fascist militias). Bonamico even makes a revelation concerning Mussolini’s lost treasure, which he himself helped to transfer, hidden in five big leather suitcases in the presence of a cardinal.

Giovanni Donfrancesco’s extensive portrait gives flesh to one of the darkest hours of Italian history. This perpetrator’s narrative of rising tension, violence and remorse is a journey down the winding road of memory that speaks eerily to the present day. -TG