For decades, wherever people have fought against injustice, they have sung “Bella ciao.” It is said to have been the anthem of Italian partisans fighting against fascism in the Second World War, but there are those who doubt the truth of this. The origins of the song are unclear. Was it a folk song favored by exploited workers in the rice fields in Italy? The accounts of various speakers are richly illustrated with archive material.
Ultimately, the song’s origins are less important than what it means to the people who sing it. A Kurdish woman talks about the magical moment she first heard “Bella ciao” as a child, when it was sung during a demonstration—in the banned Kurdish language. In the film, the song connects the struggles for liberation by different generations in various countries. The main focus is on Italy, Turkey and Iraq, all countries in which democracy is under attack to a greater or lesser degree.