Who can still use the phrase “avant-garde” or describe something as “being avant-garde” without a smirk? Is Avant-garde a phrase that belongs to the archaeology of culture, as if referring to the Phoenicians who gave us the letters of the alphabet, or the Egyptians who brought us numerals? Or is it a phrase that, existing as it does in our everyday vocabulary, designates something that is still alive and relevant, albeit on a purely utopian or somewhat wistful level? And the Avant-gardes that really deserve that title, those that took on the twentieth century with all guns blazing, what do they have in common with the latest avant-garde movements, the neo avant-garde, Gruppo '63 or Transavanguardia? And with Giotto? And, even more importantly, what do they have in common with a heart surgeon who is patenting a new system with which to operate on the mitral valve (edge to edge), or a young person studying new forms of polymers in order to build houses in space? Elisabetta Sgarbi – as she attempted to do with Se hai una montagna di neve tienila all'ombra. Un viaggio nella cultura italiana – does not try to provide an answer or prove a theory, but instead she strives to show a vast array of situations and opinions, authoritative or otherwise, some accredited, some not, from the academic worlds of the humanities and science, and from passers-by who hear the phrase avant-garde and have a reaction to it. From Umberto Eco to Rossana Rossanda, from Ludovico Corrao to Vittorio Sgarbi and Achille Bonito Oliva, from the young artists who lock horns with the dusty art world, to Guglielmi, enrico ghezzi and the surgeon Ottavio Alfieri; from the working-class avant-garde to Gruppo 63, the neo avant-garde and the historic avant-garde without forgetting those who still manage to use this phrase with a grain of innocence, the scientists or chemists: each one tries to guide us through this happily exploded world of the avant-garde, inspired by the questions posed by Eugenio Lio, in order to unravel – if indeed necessary - the beauty of its quiproquo. These interviews are accompanied by the gaze of the movie camera which transforms everything into a picture, a shot. And it is thus that nature and the urban, industrial and post-industrial landscape are synthesised into a work of art. But is it avant-garde?