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07 May1931
Colonial Exposition
Famiglia Buratti
Music by Saverio Cigarini & Mix audio Théophile Gagnard | Biennio di Musica da Film del Conservatorio di Musica di Bologna

It is a 'strange city' that, in the spring of the year 1931, rises at the gates of Paris, where the Bois de Vincennes begins'. On 7 May, under a leaden sky, the most impressive colonial exhibition ever organised before on the European continent opened its doors to the public. Inaugurated with pomp and circumstance, the Exposition Coloniale Internationale, which covers no less than one hundred and ten hectares of pavilions and exhibits, should, in the intentions of the French government, make the French assimilate a new colonial spirit, marked by a focus on the traditions and respect for the social forms of the peoples administered by France in its overseas dominions. These outposts of France in the world must develop and be increasingly productive. Thus the exhibition exalts the beauty and culture of the colonised countries whose historical palaces and characteristic buildings have even been reconstructed. The effect is that of a grandiose exotic village mixing everything from architecture to products. Among the thirty-three million visitors that will animate the exhibition, there are also the Buratti brothers who arrive by car and with their 16mm camera head straight for the Italian pavilion, hosted together with those of other nations that own colonies. The occasion of the exhibition is a tempting one for the Fascist Regime with the prospect of accrediting itself as a rising colonial power, destined to recover the millenary Roman heritage. This is what the sculptures, statues and archaeological finds displayed in the austere pavilion are for, but Buratti devotes just two or three shots to them. The real spectacle and exoticism lie elsewhere: in the streets of the strange city that has just sprung up on the outskirts of Paris and is destined to last only six months.