Giuseppe Dossetti

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Giuseppe Dossetti’s death, the Piccola officina di videostoria took the opportunity to make an extensive inventory of a patrimony kept mainly in the archives of the Teche Rai, and partly by friends, acquaintances and disciples, and to set up a video exhibition conceived as a biographical itinerary.
Dossetti’s documentary heritage, audio and on video, constitutes a significant part of his archives. It is a conspicuous documentation made up of magnetic recordings, to which must be added television footage, films, and shots that Dossetti accepted or took during his sermons or public interventions.

The path of the exhibition develops along the so-called main axes of Giuseppe Dossetti’s life, from the speeches on discipleship to the reflection on ecclesial criticality, from the Eucharist to the continual attention to the Scripture, creating the distance between a vulgate that follows clichés on the character and the complex reality of a protagonist in twentieth-century Italy and the church.

Giuseppe Dossetti recounted some of the traits of his life to different audiences and at different times: he did so on public and private occasions, being pressed to do so by friends or scholars, sometimes to explain, sometimes to give an account of his journey before God within history. This material is now in the Teche Rai, in the FSCIRE archives and in the hands of people who saved it almost by chance.

It is a patrimony of great quantitative and qualitative proportions. A material that deserves to be listened to and seen. Dossetti’s life can be found in a discontinuous, yet dense overview, as in an unfinished collection of reports: just like fragments of an autobiographical story.

As part of the video exhibition, Alberto Melloni and Fabio Nardelli conceived and realized the spin-off Giuseppe Dossetti. Frammenti di un racconto autobiografico, a further video-historical tale offered to the visitor through the voice of the protagonist. His existential itinerary is entirely retraced: from his childhood in Cavriago in the post-war period to his studies in Bologna, from his experience as Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of Milan to his commitment to the Resistance and to the CLN, from his activity as one of the leaders of the Christian Democrats to his leading role in the Constituent Assembly, from the foundation of the Istituto per le scienze religiose in Bologna to his candidacy as mayor, standing against Dozza, from his monastic ordination to his commitment to Vatican II, alongside Bishop Giacomo Lercaro, and, finally, from his retirement to the Holy Land to his last battle in defense of the Constitution in 1994. The story ends with a heart-rending finale in which a judgment that appeared anonymously in 1991 in «Il Regno» sounds like a clear chronicle of the future.

The exhibition was realized in collaboration with Teche Rai, under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic, sponsored by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, and was presented at Palazzo Rosso in Genoa, from 25 September to 6 October 2006; at the Chiostri di San Domenico in Reggio Emilia, from 3 to 15 October; at Sermig Arsenale della Pace in Turin, from 14 to 26 November; at Palazzo d’Accursio in Bologna, from 11 December 2006 to 7 January 2007; at Fondazione Giuseppe Lazzati in Milan, from 13 to 24 February 2007; and at the Palazzo Municipale in Ostiglia, from 25 February to 4 March 2007.