CPL minidocs

Web doc series / 2017

1.  In The Song of the Sea, musician and author Enrico Fink guides us through the Great Synagogue of Florence while mapping out the history and repertoire of the Sephardic liturgy in Italy. Using the poem Shirat Hayam (Song of the Sea) as an example, Fink reflects on the importance of religious music throughout the Sephardic world. Performances by Rav Alberto Funaro and David Meghnagi demonstrate how the same ancient verses assume different melodies in each distinct community along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea.


2. I Am Counting on You, on Everyone juxtaposes the letters written by Gemma Vitale Servadio before she was killed in Auschwitz with present-day images of the internment camp in Fossoli where she was temporarily detained with her mother in 1944. Now submerged by vegetation, the camp of Fossoli was the main collection point for Jews deported from all over Italy — a brief stopover before they were loaded onto convoys headed towards the death camps in Eastern Europe. Historian Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, preeminent researcher on the deportations from Fascist Italy to Nazi Germany, puts Gemma’s story in context and reflects on Italy’s unwillingness to fully come to terms with its complicity in the Holocaust.


3. In Americordo, journalist and author Gianna Pontecorboli discusses her book about Italian Jews who migrated to the United States fleeing persecution at home under Mussolini. Caught between separate worlds, these families didn’t identify with either Italian-American or American Jewish communities — yet many of them achieved remarkable academic, scientific and artistic success. Among them is Guido Calabresi, senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and former Dean of Yale Law School, who considers his outsider experience as a young refugee in wartime New York and New Haven to be the most important lesson in his formation as a judge and a scholar.


4. Alain Elkann reflects on his novel Money Must Stay in the Family and the source material that inspired him to write it: his own family history. Featuring previously unreleased archival home movies from the 1930s and 1940s, the minidoc traces the line that runs from Elkann’s grandparents’ experience as Jewish refugees in wartime New York to the multigenerational saga of love, loss and discovery portrayed in the novel.

CPL minidocs is a series of short web documentaries introducing Centro Primo Levi books. This project is made possible by the generous support of Bruce and Francesca Slovin z’l.



Director: Valerio Ciriaci

Cinematographer: Isaak Liptzin

Editor: Giacomo Lampariello

Music: Luigi Porto

Opening animation: Avansguardi

Produced by Awen Films