Regista: Fabrizio Costa
Attori principali: Sebastiano Somma: Giovanni Palatucci, Chiara Caselli: Fiamma, Omero Antonutti: Prefetto Testa
Località: Fiume Anno: 2000
1938, year 16 of the Fascist Era. Giovanni Palatucci, a little more than thirty police officer, comes to Fiume as Commissioner assigned to the Foreign Office of the local Questura (police headquarter). Native to South Italy, he’s a lawyer’s son, Giovanni, even if he is not anti-fascist, he’s an independent spirit, who doesn’t accept compromise and harassment.
During his first assignment in Genoa he didn’t hesitate to expose, in an interview with a local newspaper, a senior officer’s incompetence, that had cost the life of one of his men . And, for that fact, Paolucci had been suspended from duty.The proclamation of the Fascist racial laws makes the Foreign Office a crucial place, with alarming political implications. Fiume is a border land, where is settled an ancient Jewish community. Palatucci is named to make controls and inquiries as part of the racial discrimination programme decided by the Regime. Moreover, Mr Piazza, prefect of Fiume, committed fascist and Mussolini’s friend, wants to apply the new anti-Jewish norms in the most inflexible way. A great number of refugee, Israelites for the most, fleeing from the Reich and from Eastern Europe, highly endangered by German expansion plans, take often refuge in Italy, with the intention to board to extra-European countries ready to accept them.Many of them choose Fiume, either for the geographic proximity or for its seaport that is one of the most important of the Adriatic sea. Collaborating with Marshal Malone, who makes no secret of his opposition to the Regime, Palatucci takes advantage of his position secretly rescuing the refugees and helèing them to expatriate. Meanwhile he has known Alida, a young Fiuman nationalist. Captured by her beauty and her independent and passionate mood, Giovanni has a relationship with the woman. After the invasion of Poland and the beginning of the World War II, the border controls become tighter. The Fascist Government, also for pleasing the German partner, puts out ever more strict directives against the Italian and foreign Jewish. To face this new status, Palatucci organizes a real conspiratorial network together with other colleagues, in order to protect the Jewish from the laws that he would be obliged to apply, as a police Officer. Helped by his uncle Giuseppe, bishop of Campagna, a small town near to Salerno, he is able to have several foreign Jewish transferred to the local prison camp, run with great humanity. Increasingly involved in his mission he breaks up with Alida, who, meanwhile, has accepted an executive assignment in the Fascist Youthful Organisation and she welcomes the Italy’s entrance into the war on the side of Germany. His friendship with the Jewish lawyer Poras lets Giovanni into the home of Judge Neumann, one of the most important member of the Fiuman Israelite community. Palatucci is attracted by Fiamma, only daughter of the judge, passionate of Modern Literature, who had to interrupt her studies because of the racial laws. After a starting mistrust, Fiamma becomes Giovanni’s friend and she begins to collaborate with him. In the meantime the Nazi Germany has decided to organize the “Final Solution” for the Jewish matter. Palatucci provides false documents to the Jewish living in the Reich area or in the near Croatia and threatened with expulsion. The friendship with Fiamma has become an overwhelming passion and as a couple they adopt Marcus, an Hungarian orphan. Mussolini’s imprisonment and the fall of the Fascism seem to build a peaceful break. But dark clouds are gathering on their future. On 10th September 1943, German tanks occupy Fiume. Friuli and Dalmatia become part of the Reich. Giovanni, determined to keep his job, is completely deprived of authority and he is directly subordinated to SS Colonel Odilo Globocnik, cruel promoter of Jewish extermination in Poland. Palatucci writes a complaint letter to the Ministry of Interior of Salò denouncing the disarmament of the Italian police. This letter makes him become Questore (commissioner) of Fiume. With the purpose to rescue Fiamma and Marcus he accepts the task given to him by the National Liberation Committee (CLN) of bringing to Switzerland a document for the Allies. He takes part in a meeting at the Ministry of Interior, where he was asked and by car he drives from Salò to the Swiss border. Here, helped by a smuggler he is able to make Fiamma and Marcus pass through the frontier, then despite the desperate cries of his woman he goes back. Once again in Fiume, Giovanni witnesses the bombing of the city and he meets Alida, who is devastated for the loss of his husband in Russia and remorseful for her Fascist background, now she is willing to help Palatucci. Alida reveals to him that Globocnik is planning to round up and send the Jewish to a concentration camp in Germany. Palatucci knows his opponent moves and he spends the whole night, helped by Alida too, warning all the involved families so that they can run away. Very angry for the betrayal of the Italian Questore, Globocnik has him arrested. After some days in prison Palatucci is deported in Dachau, where he will die in the Autumn of 1944.