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Interview to Guareschi family

Here you can read an exclusive interview that we had with Carlotta and Alberto Guareschi, sons of the writer Giovannino (we would like to thank them once again for their helpfulness).

1. Which are your most beautiful memories, the ones that still stir up great emotions, concerning the time spent with your father?

They are those that remind us of our move from Milan to Roncole Verdi, in 1952; our father succeeded in buying an hectare of land and building the house he had been dreaming of for many years. Firstly a holiday house, the "Unfinished" became our definitive house at once. With many sacrifices, our father became commuter: every week he used to go to Milan for three days of non-stop work in order to let us live in the country. We could ride our bicycles, run in the fields and play in a big space: what could we desire more? Those years – we have understood later – have been the only ones really serene for our parents, and they have been really few: until 1954, when our father was tried and imprisoned. Before there had been the war, the return, the starting again: at last, after a lot of work, our father got some wealth that allowed him to realize his dream of a return to his place. A modest dream, in fact the "Unfinished", despite the frequent changes, was and is a very simple house. In these few years our father designed and had the furniture built, was engaged with the garden, and bustled about with nails and tools: these are the most beautiful memories.

2. Tell us about a particularly happy moment and a sad one for the whole work of your father?

The happy moments, according to us, were the ones he spent at «Bertoldo», a satirical newspaper for which our father worked from 1936 to 1943: he was a young successful humorist, he had a job he loved and colleagues with whom he was in perfect agreement, he set up house and was no longer embittered for poverty, as he at last had the opportunity to earn a living, working non-stop.

3. How was it to have a father who was so famous? And also a father who was so uncomfortable for the political life of the Country, but ready to live with great dignity the imprisonment?

Sometimes it was annoying, above all when we went with him somewhere, and people used to stop him. Growing up, we stopped being "jealous" of his admirers, and their affection became dear to us. For what concerns his uncomfortable choices, both the one of not collaborating with Germans and not wanting to agree to the Social Republic after the 8th of September 1943 (it cost him 18 months of internment in inhospitable Lagers in Poland and Germany, besides other 6 months of wait in order to come back to Italy), and the one of telling exactly what he thought about the most powerful politician (one year’s imprisonment in Parma, and 6 months’ probation and difficulties in the work) we are prouder and prouder.

4. Had your father got, among many opponents, also any real friend?

His choices, contrary to what can be thought, helped us to understand who really was a friend of his, and who was not. He had also few real friends. And he had a lot of affectionate readers, who, during his imprisonment in Parma, used to send him messages of solidarity and true affection. Their messages gave him strength and consolation.

5. Was Indro Montanelli a close friend or a colleague of your father? What did your father think about this journalist?

Indro Montanelli worked with our father at «Candido» during the period before the political elections in 1948 with some bold articles against the popular democratic Front which included the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. Then he went away and contributed to «Corriere della Sera» from the editorial office in Rome. Therefore, they did not see each other, as one was in Milan and the other in Rome. Our father considered him a great journalist, and appreciated his style and clarity, and due to this he wasn’t surprised at some of his attitudes that, sometimes, amazed the readers.

6. How old were you when your father began the cinematographic adventure of Don Camillo? Did you visit the set? What are your memories?

We were children (Alberto was born in the year 1940, Carlotta in the 1943) and we remember being on the set when the first movie of the series was filmed. We really got bored, because we saw a scene being filmed many times, it was always the same, and so we no more wanted to go on the set, nor for the other movies of the series.

7. According to you, which was the movie that you father liked the most and why?

We are afraid that no cinematographic representation of his Works satisfied him, both for the tales chosen and for the message conveyed, usually aimed more at making people laugh than making them think.

8. Which is the literary work that better represents the values of the Lower Plain?

We think the «Three introductory stories» of the first volume of the series “little world” are the most representative of the Lower Plain, because with these stories our father wants to explain how the places, the atmospheres and the people of his tales are.

9. The international circulation of your father’s work allows you to have many contacts with foreign countries. In which foreign country is your father’s work better known?

In France, maybe because the cinematographic don Camillo was interpreted by the French Fernandel, and in Germany, because don Camillo’s saga represents very well the post-war Italy.

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Alberto Guareschi

Carlotta Guareschi

Carlotta and Alberto Guareschi

Alberto and Carlotta Guareschi