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Italian stories in Sweden

When the Swedes congratulate us for the amusing television series Storie dell'anno mille, produced by RAI, we unfortunately have to give them some surprising and slightly embarrassing news. It is certainly not easy to tell them, without giving a valid explantion, that the series, directed by Franco Indovina, is denied to the Italian viewers. Their conclusions are simple and unanimous: ' But, it is such a successful series!' Here in Stockholm they believe Rai must take credit for producing a series, fifty minutes per episode, all set in the year 1000, for the benefit of it's own viewers, considering that at the beginning and end of the programme the initials of the Italian television appear very clearly. Instead, for reasons unknown to us, Italian viewers are denied this programme which has been highly acclaimed in Sweden both by the critics and the public. The Director, Franco Indovina, and the three principal actors, Franco Parenti, Carmelo Bene and Giancarlo Dettori, have become 'favourites' amongst the Swedish viewers who unfailingly every Tuesday evening at 9.15 (the time reserved for the more popular programmes) switch on Channel 1 to spend a carefree hour with the three scoundrels: Fortunato, Pannocchia and Carestia. The adventures of these three ex-soldiers, constantly fighting against hunger, the cold, wartime dangers and the terror inflicted upon them by the powerful and the clergy, fascinate the Swedes and in the words of Jonas Sima, television critic and reporter for daily newspaper Expressen, "they feel transported into one of the safest centuries in European history with the luminous historical loyalty expected from the Italians, seeing the humour in the desperate and strange adventures of the trio, but also reflecting on the suggestive and, at the same time, terrible presentation of life as it was one thousand years ago. Ingmar Bergman, who watched one of the shows in a television studio in Sweden, is known to have felt "astounded by the appalling realism of the first scene, which portrayed a battle field covered in corpses, and amused by the vicissitudes of the three soldiers who are completely stripped of their belongings by pillagers and resort to stealing three habits off some monks." "For the first time in my life", Bergman added, " I have seen the year 1000 portrayed as I have always imagined it." Indovina has portrayed the adventures of these three ex-.soldiers in an extremely adhering style related to that time, which is why, being so real, so harshly close to reality that one has the feeling of documentary shot one thousand years ago. Along with Bergman's praises comes the unanimous praise of all television and newspaper critics whereas the strongest acclamation comes from the viewers themselves, clearly stating that Storie dell'anno mille has taken first place and is without doubt the most amusing show of the year. The historical value of this series has been so appreciated that they are thinking of showing all the episodes during school hours, to allow students to become aware of the realities of life in Europe one thousand years ago. For some obscure reason, Franco Indovina's television series was rejected (Rai must have its good reasons) and the producers have been forced to cut certain episodes, amass them, presenting it then in cinemas as a feature-film called Tre nel mille. The Swedish televiewers are therefore enjoying the adventures of our ancestors, in colour, convinced they are watching a show which is incredibly popular amongst Italians and totally unaware that is shown as an absolute preview solely for their benefit.

F.L. Alonzo
Corriere della Sera
Wednesday May 12th 1971
Translation: Maria Simmons