By Rebecca BASSO


True Story - Completed 2019

World War II. This is the story of Giuseppe Bassi, one of the few survivors of the Italian Campaign in Russia, who, captured by the Soviets in 1942, was imprisoned in the concentration camps of Tambov, Oranki and Suzdal and returned to Italy a year and a half after the end of the war.

& Awards

Italian Film Festival Cardiff 2019
Best Documentary - Canfod Award
Asti Film Festival 2019
Special Mention of Critic Jury
Catharsis Film Festival - Russia 2019
Semi Finalist
Near Nazareth Festival - Israel 2019
Semi Finalist
Dumbo Film Festival - USA 2020
Semi Finalist
Interdoc - Russia 2020
Official Selection
Under The Stars International Film Festival 2020
Anthem Libertarian Film Festival - USA 2020
Best International Feature
    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • True Story, Documentary, Historical
    • Countries
    • ITALY
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 83 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Rebecca BASSO
    • Producer(s)
    • Rebecca BASSO (Emera Film)
    • Synopsis
    • Katerina, a woman of Russian origin, has lived for many years in Mestre, a large town in the Venetian hinterland. She is 45 years old, has a barely perceptible eastern accent, lives in an apartment on the outskirts of the city and teaches in an elementary school. Her memories take us back to the day she met Giuseppe Bassi, a sprightly centenarian who took part in the Russian Campaign during World War II: a man with blue and smiling eyes that tell a painful journey through time in a cold and searing Russia between 1941 and 1946. Captured by the Soviets on Christmas eve 1942 in Arbuzovka, the "valley of death", he was imprisoned in Tambov, Oranki and then Suzdal. After breathing the cold of four winters, he returned to Italy in the summer of 1946.
      The two characters in this story are emotionally very close; however, they are diametrically opposed. While Giuseppe and his story are both real, Katerina is a fictional character; that is how fiction and reality are closely intertwined along the story. Giuseppe is an old man who fought the Second World War on the Soviet front, while Katerina is a woman who had little to do with the war, who lived a completely different life, but who comes from the very country where Giuseppe endured so much suffering.
      Present-day Katerina’s voice off-camera retraces the times she met and spoke with the veteran Giuseppe Bassi, and does so not on chronological order, to reconstruct his story.
      Her story becomes a “collective” one, where we can all identify with her character as she shows the tragic nature of war, with no bias, and tries to bring an objective look to the Russian front, a little-told page of the Second War World history. Giuseppe went through some terrible things, he saw men deprived of their dignity, he escaped death on many occasions, and he saw his friends die on many others. He bravely faced imprisonment in the concentration camps and, despite everything, he always tells his story with a smile on his face, to the point that he even justifies his captors: now, he is over one hundred years old and brings a message of peace and brotherhood, at the same time as encouraging the new generations to live in harmony.
      Three environments alternate in Katerina's memory: the crypt, where she met Giuseppe; the museum, filled with documents and testimonies of that war, and Giuseppe's house where, after some time from their first meeting, they meet again.
      What Katerina experiences today, on the other hand, is a normal, every-day life, in which she re-elaborates everything that Giuseppe told her. Through her thoughts, we enter into the depths of Giuseppe's experience, into his emotions, and the microcosm of his personal story shifts into the macrocosm of war in its broadest sense.
      The events that resurface in her memory, whenever not told through Giuseppe's photos and drawings, are visually rendered by animations, representing Katerina's imagination that "reconstructs" Giuseppe's life stories through her own creativity.