Genoa is on my mind because I am traveling there in next few days to meet an old English friend who was beaten into a coma outside the Genoa Indymedia Centre on the night after Carlo was killed. We’re going there to march with the Italians remembering the extreme brutality meted out by the Italian State during what was the high point of the Anti-Capitalist Movement / Anti-Globalization Movement. I made the documentary below in the year following the event and I am presently (slowly) working on a follow up piece with that same friend.
I’ve been intending to make a proper version of this documentary available for a long time. It got most of its circulation in 2002-2003 on VHS tapes (Remember those?) and at many public screenings in Ireland and beyond. I put it up on Vimeo two years ago and promptly forgot about it. The first ever public screening took place in the front room of someone’s house down the country. They were hosting a small group of anarchist campers who were on their way to Ecotopia in Scariff in the summer of 2002. They had asked for a tape to screen and I said that if we could camp then they could have a first look. The second screening took place at Ecotopia itself.
The making of it took up pretty much one whole year of my life. Quite a lot of the material was shot by a bunch of ten of us who traveled to the protests in Genoa with the intention of working in an organised way on a documentary. We were also intent on working with Indymedia in Genoa. Indymedia Italy was just getting off the ground at the time and we, as a group, had a certain familiarity with and interest in the Indymedia model. It was spreading like wildfire in Europe in the aftermath of the protests against the IMF and World Bank in Prague in September of 2000. We did work closely with Indymedia while there and the film draws heavily on an archive that was produced by those who worked in and around the Indymedia centre in Genoa. Most of our little Irish subgroup of ten people ended up being involved in the formation of an Irish Indymedia collective in late 2001.
I think the documentary stands the test of time reasonably well. I got quite a bit of stick when it was first screened and distributed for what some saw as its overly conspiratorial tone. This exchange of views is quite typical of a lot of conversations I had around the time. I don’t regret that tone. Things like this remind me that Italy has a habit of living up to your worst imaginings when it comes to dirty and conspiratorial politics. A viewing of a really excellent and very forensic documentary made by the Genoa Legal Forum – OP Genova also served to emphasise for me the strangeness of the police tactics in the hours leading up to the death of Carlo Guiliani.