The diary of a sicilian journalist
The amateur films of a sicilian journalist who lived in Turin since 1932. That year La Colla buys an 8mm camera, with which he films several moments of his family life, work and free time: he films his working place -la Gazzetta del Popolo- for 10 years, as well as other places in Turin, Rome -visiting his fiancee Adriana Panini, whom he marries in 1934 and with whom he will have two children, Vito and Marco-, Orbetello, where Italo Balbo departed to fly across the Atlantic, Sicily, where he visits his family, some european countries during several work and leisure trips, and the warfront, in Yugoslavia, where his camera will be confiscated on September 8th 1943.
The Nicolò La Colla films show the views of a man of his time, a supporter of fascist Italy, a man passionate about new technologies and an active member of the internationalist Esperanto movement.
The user can explore the collection through a wide selection of sequences filmed by La Colla. It is possible to watch the digitalized films in chronological order or through the menu. The short texts inserted in the movie titles, in the explanatory notes or overlapped, introduce, contextualize and give precise information about the people, places and situations we can find on these films. The information was collected through research, documentation and cataloguing. The videos were edited using Klynt software tool.
(texts written by Karianne Fiorini)
Nicolò La Colla was born in Salemi (TR) on April 30th 1898. He spoke Esperanto and was an amateur photographer, and he gradually will grow an interest to the new technical instruments of the cinema, so he will decide to buy in 1932 his first camera in order to experiment with the 8mm format, recently developed by the Eastman Kodak Co. Since his camera, rolls and tripod let Nicolò film the most beautiful moments of his life, he will always take those instruments with him and he will try to improve his style by using the tripod to gain stability or to participate himself in his own movies. He experiments with cross-fade, makes the titles with the help of a co-worker and he inserts those titles in his movies. Nicolò La Colla is a journalist. Since the mid 30s he writes for the Gazzetta del Popolo of Turin, the city where he moves after having followed D’Annunzio in his Impresa di Fiume. He became a journalist with the help of Pasquale, his elder brother, who offered him a job in the Gazzetta so he could quit his job in Radiocorriere, in which he met his future wife, Adriana Panini (1904-1948). He gets closer to the turinese bourgeoisie, adapting to their routines and filming them in their meeting places (swimming pools, the horse tracks and private parties). He got married in 1934 in Rome, where his wife moved for work, and they move again to Turin, where his firstborn Vito Silvio and, in 1940, his second son, Marco, will be born. When the war erupts he is sent to the warfront and he’ll be far from his home and work for several years. Before the war La Colla films several movies: holidays, excursions, family meetings, ceremonies, all in black and white. His only color film would be made in the 1942 Christmas (almost certainly on December 25th ) in Salemi, during a Christmas military temporary leave. On September 8th 1943 Captain La Colla was arrested by the Germans in Croatia and he was sent to a concentration camp. During his arrest they confiscated his camera and photo camera. They promised to give him back both, but they will never fulfill that promise. He was sent to various concentration camps, and he will be released after having joined the Republic of Salò both for political convictions and to survive starvation. In the beginning of 1945 he came back to Piedmont, to join his wife and children in Baldissero Canavese, a small village North of Turin where they moved to scape war. He picked up his life in Turin after the War. He lost his job in the newspaper and finds another one in UNNRA, a textile company. His wife Adriana dies in August 1948. Vito Silvio and Marco will be fostered by his unmarried sisters, Vita and Carolina, who worked as teachers in Palermo, and they will start a new life there. Nicolò La Colla stays for a while in Turin, where he organizes some bus trips to the universal Esperanto meetings in Malmö, Paris, Munich and Oslo. He moves to Palermo in 1955, where he works as a publicist and journalist. After having retired he will focus in Esperanto, funding various clubs dedicated to this international language, giving Esperanto classes, publishing Esperanto grammars and organizing trips to national and international congresses. After the hard times of the Post-war period, the loss of his job and his wife Adriana, we won’t be able to afford a camera and film again until 1956. He died on May 25th 1984. He is buried in his family cemetery in Salemi besides his wife, Adriana.
The La Colla Collection was donated by his son Vito to the National Home Movies Archive, who made several donations since 2004. The films were kept until then in the La Colla’s home and were filmed in 8mm. After purchasing the material, the films were restored and digitalized. The films were organized with the help of Vito La Colla, trough the information given by her during several phone interviews between 2004 and 2010.
The collection consists in 20 8mm rolls, of approximately 4 and a half hours that were filmed between 1932 and 1960. Nicolò La Colla started filming in 1932 and he will keep doing it regularly until 1943, when his camera was confiscated in Croatia, where he was as a Captain of the Italian Army. He uses his camera to film scenes of the Turinese upper class daily life, the excursions with his co-workers at the Gazzetta del Popolo, his family meetings with his mother, Vincenzina Scariano, his sisters, Carolina and Vita, his three brothers, Pasquale, Stefano and Francesco (his twin brother), and his marriage with Adriana Panini, celebrated in Rome in 1934, filmed by his brother Pasquale. Since 1935, after the birth of his firstborn child, and 1940, when his second son was born, he focused his attention in his children and the moments he spent with them and his wife in Turin and during holidays. Beside these family scenes, he also filmed historical events, such as the departure of Italo Balbo from Orbetello to cross the Atlantic by plane in July 1933, or the international university games celebrated in the Mussolini Stadium of Turin in September of the same year. As a Esperantist he participates in several Esperanto national and international meetings since the early 30s, filming the Cologne (1933) and Vicenza (1935) Congresses. In 1943 he filmed several scenes during his military mission in Dubrovnik, Croatia, at that time a Yugoslavian city. These scenes are sometimes official and sometimes related to his leisure time. This last film closes his “amateur” phase and he won’t film again until 1956, after having moved to Palermo.