Newsreel "A Woman in Italy"


As a part of this year's symposium East / West Border through Film and History, in cooperation with the èStoria festival, gorizian professor and researcher Anna Di Gianantonio discussed the ever-relevant question of women's role in society during her presentation. With the help of audiovisual material, we show how the status of women began to change for the better in the post-war period in Italy. This moment is perfectly presented by the unique short documentary “A Woman in Italy”, which was created in 1958 as part of the documentary program “La Settimana Incom”.

"La Settimana Incom" was a series of Italian film newsreels that was created immediately after the Second World War under the auspices of the film production company INCOM (Industria Corti Metraggi Milano). The series represented a lighter counterweight to the film newsreels of the Istituto Luce in Rome, which in the times of fascism carried a distinctly propaganda note. The episodes, which lasted about 10 minutes, were shown in cinemas before the start of the screening of feature films. The original content of the Incom documentaries was largely focused on the reconstruction of the Italian country, at the time still soaked in the destruction of the war, but on the other hand it instilled positivity about a bright future and was within the reach of all social classes.

At the beginning of May 1958, a unique documentary film number 1650 entitled "A Woman in Italy" was released as part of La Settimana Incom. Unlike the other editions, which consisted of several contributions, this one was entirely devoted to only one topic.

The newsreel, directed by Giovanni Roccardi and lasting a little over seven minutes, places the viewer in an interesting historical moment, where tradition and modernity mix in equal measure. The newsreel presents how the average woman in Italy in the 1950s is on the one hand already emancipated, but on the other hand, in the spirit of traditionalism, she is still strongly tied to her "real" roles. The character of a woman is presented in the documentary film as completely equal in a society that until then was almost exclusively in the domain of men. Women are shown rushing to work in the morning, occupying leading roles in companies and even piloting airplanes. In Italy, traditional values were still alive in the 1950s, and this is clearly shown in this documentary in the scenes of hardworking housewives who take care of the home and conscientiously raise their children. In this way, the documentary film becomes more balanced and thus celebrates the all-round ability and achievements of the modern woman more objectively from different angles.


Anna Di Gianantonio is a scientist and researcher at the Regional Institute for the History of Resistance and Modernity in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. As part of her research, she used oral sources and mostly devoted herself to the study of the history of women during the period of fascism and resistance, as well as the history of workers in Gorizia, from fascism to the post-war period. In 2000, the LEG publishing house published the book Working-class Gorizia. Workers in Gorizia in Italy during history and memory 1920—1947 (Gorizia operaia. I lavoratori e le lavoratorici isontini tra storia e memoria 1920—1947). Together with Gianni Peteani, she published the book Ondina Peteani. Partisan struggle, deportation to Auschwitz, social commitment: life for freedom (Ondina Peteani. La lotta partigiana, la deportazione ad Auschwitz, l'impegno sociale: una vita per la libertà, Mursia publishing house, Milan 2011). In 2016, the edition she wrote with Marco Puppini and Nerina Fontanot, Against Fascism Beyond Every Border (Contro il fascismo oltre ogni frontiera, Kappa Vu, Udine) was published. She edited the historical framework of Maria Antonietta Moro's diary All the Souls of My Body. Diary of a young partisan 1943—1945 (Tutte le anime del mio corpo. Diario di una giovane partigiana 1943—1945, Iacobelli publishing house, 2014). With Gianni Peteani, she published the book I'm Pregnant (Ich bin Schwanger, IRSREC, 2020).