It is 1957. In Alfonsine, one of the many towns in Romagna that was destroyed by the war, the communist barber Sauro Ravaglia and his friends dream of the Soviet Union, the only place where their ideals of peace, brotherhood and equality have come true. When they get the chance to visit Moscow during the World Festival of Youth and Students, the group of friends depart: their expectations are high and they want to bring home as many images as possible of what will be the best trip of their life.
Federico Ferrone and Michele Manzolini take us on a journey back in time with the dream of socialism and a train that takes us directly towards this dream of revolutions for equality and struggles for freedom. Using faded images and sound documents conserved at Bologna’s National Home Movies Archives, skilfully edited by Sara Fgaier, the narration (Sauro’s voiceover) rapidly turns into a bitter awareness, first personal and then collective, of the collapse of a value system that inspired an entire post-war generation. The contrast between enchantment and bewilderment is the beating heart of this movie that describes the crumbling of an ideal in the clash, both conceptual and visual, between reality and the celebratory images from the powerful propaganda machine of Soviet Communism.
Managing Director of Festival dei Popoli
Michele Manzolini was born in 1980 in Sondrio, Italy. He studied semiotics at the University of Bologna and continued his college education in Minho, Portugal, and in Rio de Janeiro. He joined Francesco Ragazzi and Federico Ferrone to direct the documentary Merica (2007), and next he directed the TV documentary The Enemy Within (2008). He teamed up with Ferrone once again for The Train to Moscow (2013). Their joint feature Once More Upon the Breach (2019) was selected in the Sconfini section at the 76th Venice International Film Festival.
Federico Ferrone (1981) studied History at the University of Bologna and Political Science in Paris. He co-directed the award-winning documentaries Banliyö - Banlieue (2004), Merica (2007) and The Enemy Within (2009). His film The Train to Moscow (2013) was selected, among others, in the main competition at the Torino Film Festival and the documentary competition of Karlovy Vary IFF. He also co-produced the film Anita by Luca Magi (2012), selected at the Torino Film Festival and Doclisboa. In 2011 he has been awarded by UNESCO the title of "Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue between Arab and Western Worlds" for his films on immigration, suburbs and the contribution of immigrant communities to a country’s culture. His latest film Once More Upon the Breach (2019), co-directed with Michele Manzolini, was selected at the 76th Venice International Film Festival.