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28 July1936
Balilla Camp
Fratelli Chierici
Music & mix audio by Marco Melilli | Biennio di Sound Design del Conservatorio di Musica di Bologna

Twenty-two-year-old Enrico Chierici from Genoa never misses an opportunity to use his camera, a family passion that is passed on from one generation to the next. On this occasion, on 28 July 1936, he filmed the life and activities of a camp of the Opera Nazionale Balilla in nearby Torriglia, a holiday resort in the province of Genoa much loved by the inhabitants of the Ligurian capital. After the panoramic shots of the camp near the small local cemetery and in particular the tents of the infirmary, we see the preparations of the kitchens for lunch. The young 'balilla' are marched in military order towards the canteen and then spread out at the tables. This is followed by the preparation of a football match, which is watched by Enrico's mother, Paola, with her sister and brother-in-law Alfredo Gianelli. When the match starts and the first actions are seen, the film is interrupted. We do not know why the Chierici are involved in the day at the camp, but it is certain that Enrico remembers his scouting past. In November 1927, at the age of 13, Enrico Chierici had joined the Italian Young Catholic Scouts. His Scoutmaster was Antonio Canevaro, one of the founders of Baden Powell scouting in Genoa and Italy. In his personal booklet for the year 1928, he became an aspirant and in April, 527 merit points were still recorded. An accomplished scout. But with the birth of the Opera Nazionale Balilla in that very year, the position of Italian scouting became complicated and the scout divisions were gradually disbanded and incorporated into the new organisation to which many young scouts had to join as vanguardists. Enrico in his soul remains a scout, when he finds himself among the Balilla he probably sees situations that remind him of his past, thinking that after all for a child one thing is as good as another. Soon, however, he will put on the soldier's clothes and then the differences will be seen.