CORDIS - EU research results

The Cinematic Battle for the Adriatic: Films, Frontiers, and the Trieste Crisis

Project description

Cinematic battle for the northern Adriatic borderland

The Trieste Crisis (1945-1954) was an intense diplomatic dispute over the Italo-Yugoslav border. The production of films by these two countries coincided with the establishment of film festivals as important geopolitical events. The EU-funded CBA TRIESTE project will investigate how the cinematic representation of the struggle for this borderland was used to produce desirable cultural memories in line with the conflict’s national and ideological concerns. The project will compare the Trieste Crisis and the period following the Giorno del Ricordo establishment in 2004 in Italy by exploring film production, film festival circulation, and film reception through awards and press mentions. It will result in a digital archive presenting a selection of relevant films and documents.


The project will analyse cinematic practices related to the Trieste Crisis (1945-54), a diplomatic struggle over the Italo-Yugoslav border at the outset of the Cold War, which remains the region’s most controversial issue due to the violence it invoked. Central to the conflict’s soft power dimension, both countries produced a collection of films about these events, which coincided with the establishment of film festivals as important geo-political events. Taking festivals as lieux de mémoire, the project will explore how the conflict’s cinematic representation (specifically the foibe massacres, the Italian exodus, the fascist crimes and the anti-fascist struggle) has been employed to construct desirable cultural memories related to its national and ideological concerns. It will compare Italian and Yugoslav (Slovenian, Croatian) perspectives, by investigating three levels of cinematic action: 1) film production, 2) film festival circulation, and 3) film reception through awards and press reviews. It will compare two periods, both marked by higher interest in this topic: the Trieste Crisis itself and the period following the establishment of Giorno del Ricordo in Italy in 2004. By including historical and contemporary viewpoints, the study will examine how the narrativization of these events has evolved from the early Cold War to the present day. The project will result in a digital archive presenting: 1) film database with contacts of institutions housing the films, 2) film analysis in the given political and social context 3) selection of films and archival documents. The project will offer the first analysis of this film corpus and make widely accessible a collection of related cinematic cultural heritage. In engaging with an interdisciplinary approach, it will provide a contribution to the study of cinema, film festivals and cultural memory, and a practical toolkit for researchers and cultural programmers, which can act as a model for other, comparable studies.


Net EU contribution
€ 275 209,92
30123 Venezia

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Nord-Est Veneto Venezia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 275 209,92