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Le Quattro Giornate di Napoli Posted by on Nov 14, 2019 in Art, Culture, History

Le Quattro Giornate di Napoli: A film review 

The Four Days of Naples (Nanni Loy) is a movie based upon the true story of the uprising of the napoletani against the German militant occupants during World War II, shortly before the arrival of the Allied forces. It is an emotional movie, yet tinged with small moments of Neapolitan comic release, to offset the seriousness and show the humanity of the situation. Perhaps the most poignant moments of the film comes from the true story of Gennaro Capuozzo, an 11 year old hero and youngest partigiano (partisan) that participated in the uprising, who was awarded the Medaglia d’oro (gold medal of honor) posthumously. Gennaro sacrificed his life while throwing hand grenades towards German tanks, stoking the Neapolitan people to uprise further, eventually pushing the Germans out and liberating Napoli before the arrival of the Allied forces.

This movie is mostly in Neapolitan dialect, so sottotitoli (subtitles) may be necessary, but it is a movie that accurately depicts the climate of Italy; the desperation and utter confusion of the Italian people during WWII. Survival was, of course, in the forefront of everyone’s mind, and thus decisions needed to be made as to which side to play in order to get through the war. Some Italians were true Fascisti (Fascists) who aligned themselves with the tedeschi (Germans), some played both sides, some hid under ground, either waiting for the end of the war or the eventual uprising and desperate fight to liberate their city from the intended destruction of the German militants. This movie depicts all of their stories, in a sad, mirrored irony of life. The simple struggle to survive through something so evil and twisted that some couldn’t even imagine it was real, depicted in a scene where a taxi driver gets between a shootout to scold the partisans who are using his taxi as a shield- only to bewildering find one of them to already be dead. “Andate a fare la guerra da qualche altra parte” he yells, “Go make war somewhere else,” a sentence used more than once in the film, unfortunately for the napoletani war was there and there was no escaping it anymore. 

Who could say what history would look like now if the napoletani did not spend these four days fighting off the Germans; at times with nothing but furniture thrown off balconies at the German soldiers in the narrow alley below. According to reports, Adolf Hitler had intended to hold Naples and set it up as a base to hold off the Allied invasion, and if that had failed, to actually turn the city into ruin before the German retreat, in an attempt to camouflage the war crimes they had committed against innocent citizens. 

The movie could be watched here with English subtitles, and I highly suggest it. Get some fazzoletti (tissues) ready! 

Al valoroso popolo Napoletano che hanno combattuto per la libertà… questo film è dedicato alla loro memoria. 


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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. I am also the creator of A Polyglot's Inkblot where I document my leap into a digital nomad lifestyle:

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