Italian Word of the week FILMINI

italicsBy Daniela Gross

It is a really old fashioned word. Nowadays, if in Italian you say “filmini” (the singular is “filmino”), the youths probably won’t understand what in the world you mean. It is a word that reminds us of some old aunt who, more than forty years ago, used to torture entire families in order to film them during a dinner or a trip. “Filmini” is, in fact, the Italian diminutive of the English word “film/movie”, and it mainly indicates “family movies” aimed at preserving memories and faces through the years.

Neglected and often thrown away by families, those old movies represent a fundamental and irreplaceable patrimony for historians. Thanks to those images, one can capture details or habits otherwise impossible to be detected along with new unexpected details.
This is the reason why, in the last decades, much research aimed at finding audiovisual materials about the Italian Jewish world have started across Italy, Israel and other countries.

If you consider how dramatic the Shoah’s impact was, and how many documents, pictures, book, or journals were then destroyed, it’s easy to understand how rare those fragile visual materials are. The study of many of these filmini has brought about many important discoveries. However, the recent discovery and restoration of the “filmini” of two Roman Jewish families, which you can read about in this issue, is something really special, joyful and helpful to the reconstruction of our history.