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Back to Viat Nam | double zero

This is a true story, which happened to the father of a friend of mine. A worker at Mirafiori in the early seventies, had a terrible accident at work due to poor maintenance of the machine. While in the hospital, most of his body burned with very little hope of survival, some FIAT officials approach his wife and propose a pact: If he does not report the accident inside the factory, but outside, for chance reasons, yes they commit to hiring her as an employee, including Ensures that they have reasons to live, and their daughters. The husband dies and the widow accepts the contract. He goes to work at FIAT and is able to raise his daughters with dignity. To do this, she uses the “FIAT System” that has made Turin for decades, blending the rigors of the practices just described with the wellbeing approach perfectly described in after work, a true classic of corporate cinema, produced in those exact years, in 1972. It is produced by CineFIAT, the equivalent of the press and publicity authority of PCI at that time. and somehow after work is a peer Trevico Turin, a trip in Viat NamAnd The Ettore Scola movie released just a year later.

CineFIAT has not only produced advertising films, but also educational documentaries and various types of testimonials about the company’s activity. This film, for example, appears to have been produced for internal use, and is intended for the employees themselves, to inform them of all the activities and opportunities offered by Fiat “outside of work”. At 24 minutes, the film collects a rapallic amount of interfering segments. It starts from the field of recreational sports: water polo, blankets, rowing, tennis, swimming pools, athletics, Greco-Roman wrestling (!), basketball, diving and weightlifting. We then move on to more social issues: credit to buy a car (FIAT naturally), social assistance, health, kindergartens and nurseries, boarding schools, and colonies. And of course public housing, which has been built with “ever-increasing commitment”. These are the same tall buildings at Mirafiori and Vallette that sometimes appear looming over the “aggregates” documenting the sports facilities. Then there is the pupil school, for the children of workers destined to be new employees. and FIAT Christmas, a seemingly unmissable party in which children of working-class families return home full of gifts. The film is keen to tell us that all of this is also shown on a monthly basis in “L’Illustrato FIAT”, a home-distributed periodical, which sees the editorial team at work on alacre.

The spread of the company’s approach to employees does not stop even when the employment relationship ends. We enter the world of “FIAT seniors”, who can hold regular meetings, a retirement home (inevitably named after Giovanni Agnelli) and a holiday hotel on the Riviera. Finally, here are the most obvious cultural activities: a library (however, oddly enough, the only framed volume is a directory called men and fish), folklore performances dedicated to regional communities, classical music concerts; And again: sports courses, mountain climbing, underwater fishing, chess, stamps, mycology, photography. In this catalog of the best of all possible worlds, everything is clean and immaculate. From the factory to the nursing home, there is an atmosphere of order and reasonableness, where everything is as it should be.

With sometimes alienating effects: the noisy geometry of an elderly canteen, for example, invokes the assembly line’s functional arrangement—even if the most surreal element of the scene is a white-gloved waitress who appears to come straight from the Agnelli Pete. Everything is told by a piece of music easy pop Captivating and rampant. In this universe where everyone is protected and nurtured, as long as – tacitly – they cooperate wholeheartedly, sometimes images are charged with an involuntary depressing tone. As in the case of an “old Fiat”, alone among others, carrying a plastic bag with goldfish likely to win at the booth of the rally that gathers 5,000 of his former teammates, the spokesperson tells us emphatically. It’s a picture of a strange unit that could have come out of a book by Beringo Garden.

Far from the historical and social assessments of the “FIAT System”, what remains with you today while watching this film is an ambiguous feeling. On the other hand, one can only complain, net of Agnelli’s paternalism, the loss of the complex set of social guarantees that today, in an age Release A liberal and fragmented work, it sounds like science fiction. On the other hand, the company’s apparent attempt to seize every moment of an employee’s life with clever social blackmail is disturbing: the moment I take advantage of you, I create in you a complex of guilt and gratitude as opposed to what you feel about oppressive parents. And this must have been the root cause of what happened in the city in January 2003, when Gianni Agnelli passed away.

The corpse was displayed in the Pinacoteca del Lingotto, and this was indeed a reality with many symbols: it was an abandoned FIAT factory converted into a shopping center and art gallery at the same time, a boom full of antiquities. What no one expected was the sheer number of people, ordinary citizens, including many ex-employees, who braved hours of cold standing along the previous test track to bid his final farewell. Among these were many of his “enemies”, people who fought him inside and outside the factory: they were more or less aware that they, along with their opponent, were celebrating their historic funerals. (All this was narrated in a beautiful film by Gianfranco Barbieri, massUnfortunately, it cannot be tracked online.) Among those people in line, as well as my friend’s mother. For whom I did not dare to ask why I went; But maybe there is no need.

As part of the 2021/2022 cultural programming for Polo del ‘900 Where the wind leads. Crisis, transformations and opportunities for the new decadeThe Foundation of the Antonio Gramsci Institute of Piedmont proposes and coordinates the Con-nected Archives multimedia project. The text presented by David Ferrario here, which originated from a collaboration between Polo del 900 and Doppiozero, takes its hint and develops from the material in the course Work, Struggle and Rights (available here).

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