Tempo, spazio e memoria in quella «Lunga notte del '43» che non finisce mai di Bassani e Vancini

Cezary Bronowski


The aim of the article is to explore space, time, and memory in Giorgio Bassani’s short story entitled Lunga notte del’43 [Long Night of ‘43] and in its film adaptation directed by Florestano Vancini. Presenting the reality of the Second World War in Ferrara, Bassani performs a structural analysis in order to examine social reactions to fascism. The novelist’s three expressive categories, la descrizione della vita [the description of life], la narrazione della vita [the narrative of life], and la storicizzazione della vita [the historicization of life], respectively, may also be applied in the interpretation of Vancini’s adaptation. Telling the story of Pino Barilari, an isolated and marginalized pharmacist whose wife has an affair with an anti-fascist, Franco Villani, Lunga notte del’43 constitutes an existential parable of the protagonist’s loneliness. Both in the short story and in the film, Pino’s apartment is a symbolic place, spazio-rifugio [space-refuge], representing illusory protection from the atrocities of fascism. Unlike space, time is explored differently by Bassani and Vancini: the continuum temporalis of the short story is contrasted with the non continuum temporalis of the film. Vancini’s perception of time is evocative of Saint Augustine’s idea of the present of past things, the present of present things, and the present of future things, represented in the film adaptation by Pino’s memories, actual actions, and expectations, respectively. Interestingly enough, oscillating between seemingly unrelated episodes from history and fragments of memory, Vancini’s masterpiece may be regarded as a sort of mosaic.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6092/2240-5380/2.2012.45


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