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The documentary tells the story of Laura D'Oriano, the only woman to have been shot for military espionage in Italian history.
Laura D’Oriano is one of the few women to have been involved in espionage on behalf of the allies in Italy during the second world war. A lady of considerable beauty, charm and intelligence, she used her feminity as a seduction technique in order to obtain information and to enter circles that would otherwise have been inaccessible. And yet, in contrast to other “Mata Hari” figures of the time, hers is a not a story of high society and romance, so much as one of real danger and incompatible contradictions. Driven by financial problems and by an insatiable spirit of adventure, as well as a desire for liberty that led her to abandon her husband and two young daughters, Laura D’Oriano was sentenced to death at the age of 30, She was executed at Forte Bravetta in Rome in January 1943, carrying her mysterious and fascinating story to the grave.
The documentary tells a story that is unknown and yet gripping. In a climate of suspense and constant twists in the plot, it traces the identikit of a figure who transgressed the two principal values of the Fascist era: loyalty to the nation and loyalty to the family. It is both a historical and a psychological jigsaw puzzle that, piece by piece, shows the true face of Laura D’Oriano, beneath her dazzling smile and curly brown hair.
The producers have decided to use a fictional technique in order to “stage” the ambiguity of this spy story. A professional actress will play the part of Laura D’Oriano, telling her story in the first person. The story will be told in the present and thus the tragic outcome will not be revealed until the end. As a key witness and narrator, D’Oriano will guide us through the anxiety and intrigue that culminates in her arrest and death.
If, however, the narrative technique uses a fictional stage to convey the story in a lively and dynamic way, then the historical sources are, on the contrary, entirely accurate, involving as they do contributions from the historian Mimmo Franzinelli and D’Oriano’s daughter, who resides in Switzerland.
In addition to the in-depth “interview” with Laura D’Oriano, the documentary is embellished by a narrative voice that places the story in its historical context and by the contributions of historians and experts on espionage who provide the key for a better understanding of the main character’s extraordinary life.
In visual terms, the documentary follows the movements of the spy with footage shot in the locations where the story unfolds: the submarine naval base of Bordeaux and the Italian ports where she carried out her work, the abandoned house in Switzerland, the Italian-french border, the family home in Rome and, last but not least, the place where Laura D’Oriano and the story she tells come to an end: the Forte Bravetta in Rome.
In addition to these emotive images, ther e is a considerable use archive footage which illustrates daily life in Italy and France - where she spent most of her life- during the second world war as well as the military struggle to control the Mediterranean sea.
A. Bettinetti – quattroterzi