They Were the Red Brigades (Ils étaient les Brigades Rouges)

They Were the Red Brigades (Ils étaient les Brigades Rouges)

Mosco Levi Boucault
126 minutes

On March 16, 1978, in a Rome under siege, nine members of the Red Brigades blocked the convoy of one of Italy’s most prominent political leaders, Christian democrat Aldo Moro. After killing his bodyguards, they kidnapped Moro and locked him up in what they called a “people’s prison.” Their demand was clear: release 13 imprisoned revolutionary fighters in exchange for Moro’s safe return. This shattering event summed up the whole period of Italy’s “years of lead,” an era marked by a wave of both left-wing and right-wing political terrorism beginning in the late 1960s. Moro’s assassination sounded the death knell for the Red Brigades, an underground group that set revolution as its goal and worked through armed confrontation with capitalism and the State, all in the name of creating a more just society.

Replete with archival footage of the group in action and punctuated by evening news reports of the drawn-out Moro affair, They Were the Red Brigades comes in two parts (1 Voting Doesn’t Pay, Let’s Take Arms and 2 Revolution Is Not A Dinner Party). Expert documentarian Mosco Levi Boucault studies the logic of this high profile event from within the Red Brigades organization itself, through in-depth testimonies by four members of the command who organized Moro’s kidnapping and, after extended negotiations with the State, chose to bring about a tragic conclusion. -TG


BLOIS 2011