Rai 1 celebrates tonight at 21.30 the hundredth anniversary of his birth of the Air Force with Sky Hunters. History of Francesco Baracca (Giuseppe Fiorello), the aviator nicknamed Ace of Aces for successes during the First World War: 34 aerial victoriesrecord among Italian pilots, a true national hero.
Sky Huntersthe plot
«My name is Francesco Baracca. I am a pilot of the Royal Army. Before becoming an aviator, I was at Piemonte Cavalleria. Aviation was still in its infancy. Very few ventured into the skies. One day I witnessed one of those very first flights and I was immediately electrocuted. Seeing that plane hovering in the sky, seeing it enter and disappear into the clouds…. I knew immediately that aviation was the future. And I wanted to be part of it. Then, on May 24, 1915, everything changed».
Sky Hunters start from here. From the words of Baracca, a man with a disruptive personality and a dreamer and farsighted soulwhich collides with reality. That is, with the entry of Italy into the First World War. The narrative arc of the film covers the arc from 1915 to 1918, when the aviator dies during a mission on Montello.
In 1915, Baracca was stationed at the Santa Caterina airfield, near Udine, headquarters of the first fighter aircraft department and of the Supreme Command. Here meets Bartolomeo Piovesan (Andrea Bosca), a Venetian worker in charge of the maintenance of his plane. It is the beginning of a strong human and professional partnershipwhich will bring great innovations to the aviation field.
Francesco Baracca, the meeting with Norina Cristofoli and death
In addition to enterprises in the skiesthere is the story of the man. Francesco Baracca is charming, appreciated by women, but his heart belongs to Norcina Cristofoli (Claudia Vismara), opera singer who died in 1978, but remained linked throughout his life to the memory of the major. They meet by chance and it’s love at first sight.
«The moments with Norina were pure joy», tells. “For her I was not the ace of heaven, for her I was only and simply Francesco”. Norina doesn’t like the military and she fears for the fate of her lover. He too begins to fear for her own life. One day she confesses to Bartolomeo: «I’m afraid I’m going to die in the flames as I’m flying up there and the plane goes down. I’ll confess one thing to you: I always carry my service pistol with me. If that were to happen… » And he points his fingers to his temples, as if she were asking him to shoot him in case things go badly.
In his last moments he reflects: «Flying is beautiful despite the horrors of war. I didn’t notice it right away. The dull thud and then the shot. The pain, on the other hand, comes only moments later. It had to happen, I felt it. It will all be over in a few moments, but that’s okay. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than this». He was on June 19, 1918 and died at the age of thirty.
The hunters of the sky, Giuseppe Fiorello: «We are all heroes»
Produced by Anele and directed by Mario Vitale, Sky Hunters traces the life of Francesco Baracca, mixing historical truth and fiction. They are present in the documentary film archive footage, short animation scenes and testimonials entrusted to the actors. The place where this happens is the room of the museum that houses his airplane and is located in Lugo, the municipality in the province of Ravenna where he was born.
To play Baracca, Joseph Fiorello he “entrusted himself totally to the director”, he reveals at the press conference. «Mario made me discover a character I knew little and this is one of the elements that keeps me here: curiosity, the desire to let the public know stories that are little known».
Of his character he says: «It’s a paradox to go to war and try not to hit the enemy, but he thought it and very often he did it. Many times he has succeeded. When they told him you are the ace of the skies, he got dark and this human aspect has always struck me a lot».
He then emphasizes that the goal is the 100-year celebration. «You don’t want to ride on today’s history», namely the war in Ukraine. “It would have been cruel.” Finally, he addresses a thought to the everyday heroes, who for the actor are not the various Baraccas of history, but “everyone”. None excluded. «We are heroes if we behave well and respect others»he concludes.
Andrea Bosca: «We don’t all take off from the same place, but we are driven by the same engine»
Andrew Bosch, on the other hand, who plays Bartolomeo, an invented character, is satisfied with having given «a voice to people who come from the countryside. Why we don’t all take off from the same place, but we are all driven by the same engine of passion. Baracca’s great intuition is to say that with study you can grow, you can change your status. If you have the talent, I want to deal with you and this sharing of talent makes them friends.”
In the end, Claudia Vismara: «Norina was Baracca’s great love. She was much coveted, there was no woman who was not in love with him. I think they fall in love precisely because they know how to get naked for each other. Norina has this ability to glimpse the man beyond the hero. He wasn’t alone for her the ace of acesbut it was Francis. These two characters love each other even with the fear of never seeing each other again. It’s a love story that always has the background of war and the great doubt whether they would ever see each other again. I liked the tenderness of this love. A young woman with a great lightness, a great positivity and perhaps even a naivety, which makes her tender and delicate».
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