My War Is Not Over, Shindler’s list
by Camillo De Marco
- Bruno Bigoni has given voice to an extraordinary man who has given a name to hundreds of soldiers who disappeared during the Second World War, including the father of Roger Waters from the band Pink Floyd
We could call it “Shindler’s list” in assonance with the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved hundreds of Jews from extermination camps and inspired Steven Spielberg’s film. Englishman Harry Shindler’s is a long list of soldiers who disappeared during the second world war to whom he managed to give a name. To this “memory hunter” is dedicated Bruno Bigoni’s beautiful documentary, My War Is Not Over [+see also:
film profile], which premiered at the 35th Torino Film Festival, in the Festa Mobile section.
Harry was a simple soldier barely twenty years old when, in 1944, he landed in Anzio and went up towards the North of Italy to fight the nazis. Today, at 95 years old, Shindler lives in San Benedetto del Tronto, the widower of an Italian wife, and spends his days as a veteran shedding light on cases and unresolved events of the Allied advance in Italy. After so many years, calls and demands keep arriving from veterans or relatives who would like to know the fate of a missing soldier, find the grave of a fighter at the front, ot track down the wreckage of a boat or airplane.
Relying on the book written by Shindler with the journalist Marco Patucchi, which gives its title to the documentary, Bruno Bigoni (Those Who Met Me, Did Not See Me [+see also:
film profile]) has given voice to an extraordinary man gifted with great empathy, through interviews, archival images, and reconstructions which are shot on Super 8 to give them a visual look similar to that of the era. With great rigor, the Milanese documentarian creates a link between past and present, developing a chronicle of memory devoid of rhetoric. “An entire generation has lost this period we call youth because of the war,” says Harry Shindler. “I don’t do it to be thanked, but because it is a duty to safeguard the memory of the men and facts from these years which were so important for the story of all of us.”
My War Is Not Over is gripping like a thriller because it shows us the resolution of concrete cases, such as the one about the British bomber that took off in Foggia and was lost at sea in the autumn of 1944. On board was the Australian soldier Bob Millar who, as Shindler discovered, was in reality a Hungarian Jew called Gabo Adler, a secret agent for the English army, shot by the Germans north of Rome.
And there is also the “scoop,” later on in the film: the reconstruction of the final hours of Eric Fletchter Waters, an English lieutenant fallen in February 1944 in the marshes of Aprilia. Roger Waters, the legendary founder of Pink Floyd, had always known that his father had died in battle, but he did not know where or when. Thanks to Shindler, Waters has found a place to honour his father’s memory.
My War Is Not Over is produced by Proxima with the support of the Lombardia Film Commission - Film Fund and the Lombardy region, and will be distributed by Altamarea Film.
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