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  • Writer's pictureAlex Leptos

REVIEW: 'The Lost Shoes' (2021), a documentary feature by Tomaso Aramini and Rafiqfuad Yarahmadi

Updated: May 21, 2021

We wanted to tell a submerged part of Italian history from the perspective of the toiling masses and the working class using historical materialism as a framework. Our goal was to shed a new, unbiased light on the avant-garde communist movement in Italy as it developed across the 60s and the 70s from mass strikes to guerrilla outfits. In doing so we focused on the revolutionary life of Armando Lanza whose story allowed us to reflect on this trajectory. What was the political context, the objective conditions that allow this political phenomenon to grow and what were the causes that determined its end? What were Armando's subjective motivations that made him join Red Brigades during their anti-Imperialist turn after a life of political agitator? We answered these questions in a film that is not afraid to be political and potentially controversial. We combined Armando's story and the communist movement's history in a dialectical synthesis, using Marxism and ethnography as methods of inquiry to create a rigorous piece. It had some risks, like the deep political conversations, but this was the only way to achieve clarity so to allow any spectator to comprehend a complex history. Above all, though, our final aim was to make the audience reflect on the destiny of class struggle in Western countries and where change can come from: is history truly over? We believe not because the quest for socialism is still here, steadily growing among the new generations through contradictions and movements that should be carefully looked at.

- Tomaso Aramini (writer/producer/director) and Rafiqfuad Yarahmadi (director)

Outside the Spotlight says: The Lost Shoes is a very interesting look into the left-wing politics in Italy during the late 20th and early 21st century, a time at which oppression and rebellion was red hot. It is told predominantly through the perspective of Armando Lanza and loosely inspired by his account; formally of the left-wing, anti-fascism organisation the 'Red Brigades.' Lanza sits to talk with a variety of people involved in similar practices and political groups during the same time. The overarching idea is that he is leaving a testimony for his daughter explaining why he spent time in prison. The film gives a hugely detailed account of the rising tensions in Italy and the resulting rebellions from the early student strikes through to the Vietnam war and everything after and in between.

Directors Tomaso Aramini and Rafqfuad Yarahmadi do a very good job of breaking the film down into process-able sections for even those not overly familiar with its subject matter or content and giving clear explanations as to who stood for what and how they came to be; making it accessible to the less politically-inclined. The Lost Shoes is presented through various conversations as mentioned, thoughtfully paired and well edited with archival footage of news, voice notes and photographs giving the viewer a real sense of the lives lead by each person presenting their stories. Some of the more controversial practices of the 'Red Brigades' are presented through animated re-creation which is utterly eerie but hugely entrancing. All of this evidences thorough and vastly intricate research on the part of Aramini and Yarahmadi to create this time portal of information.

Presenting the story through multiple perspectives gives 'The Lost Shoes' a much clearer presentation of times gone by as opposed to a one-sided recollection told by a singular source. Lanza is presented in a thoughtful light, considering he was a major player in what is often regarded as a terrorist group who were responsible for many unkind happenings. Rather, Lanza is not presented in any extreme way but as a very well-versed and intelligent politician who is very aware of his doings- good or bad, and how they shaped the course of history and times to come. Furthermore, the film also shows parallels and contrasts between the movements of then and the movements of now as recent as 2019, showing that whilst much has changed, much has also stayed very much the same, and we are still fighting for change.

The Lost Shoes is a wonderfully crafted, thorough and very thoughtful documentary feature that presents new light on an area not particularly explored. It is somewhat unusual to see a non-fiction piece taking place during wartime not focusing on said subject matter but instead the things surrounding it, and absolutely has the ability to generate new interest.

- About the filmmakers -

Tomaso Aramini: experimental and documentary filmmaker, cinematographer

Aramini holds a Ph.D. in film, music and preforming arts from Leeds Beckett University on film language and painters ideologies and practices. His experimental films have been screened worldwide from San Francisco to Goa, receiving many accolades. The Lost Shoes is his first documentary feature which he also produced and wrote. His practice centers around conceptual and political films, often hybridizing these two genres.

Rafiqfuad Yarahmadi documentary filmmaker

Yarahmadi holds an MA in documentary filmmaking from Leeds Beckett University. He has over 12 years of experience as a journalist, photographer and filmmaker. His short documentaries have won many awards worldwide the most successful of which is "Evan-A Story of Survivor" a biographical piece accounting the story of a political refugee in UK. His practice is focused on Kurdish national question and Liberation struggle as well marginalized refugees. The Lost Shoes is his first directorial effort in a documentary feature.


Calcutta Cult International Film Festival 2021: Best Documentary Film

Andromeda Film Festival 2020: Best Documentary

Bridge Fest December 2020: Best Documentary Feature

Bridge Fest December 2020: Best Documentary Feature

L'HIFF 2021 (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat Film Festival 2021): Best International Feature Film nominee

Lonely Wolf London International Film Festival 2020: Best Performative Documentary nominee

AntiCensura Film Festival 2020: Best Documentary Feature nominee

Harrogate Festival Feature 2020

Golden State Film Festival 2021

Watch the trailer for The Lost Shoes below

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