Small format stories
Team and contacts
05 August1960
La donnaccia
Ermanno Acanfora
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

'A pretty little hospitable village in Upper Irpinia, Cairano is currently experiencing its albeit limited quarter-hour of fame,' so the chronicles of the time report. When a film set arrives in a 'forgotten' village where perhaps life goes by without anything apparently exceptional happening, the memory of that place is marked forever. This is the case of Cairano, a very poor village located on a rocky outcrop, where the film crew of director Silvio Siano's 'La donnaccia' (The Bad Woman) arrived in the summer of 1963. An epoch-making event for the village, which became the theatre for the filming and saw the choral participation of the inhabitants as extras and in small parts. Ermanno Acanfora, a cineamateur "chronicler" of the Campania region who had already distinguished himself in the production of backstage shots of better-known films shot on the Amalfi coast, also embarks on this adventure, giving us stolen sequences on the set and splendid portraits of the actors, technicians and population. The film somehow upset the community in the village: "People who worked in the fields were no longer available, and so there was a shortage in the countryside, because the pay for being an extra was ten times as much," someone would recount many years later. The 'donnaccia' is not only the appellation by which a girl who returns to the village is called, awakening the community's senses and arousing reactions and rejection (just like the character of Fabrizio De Andrè's song Boccadirosa), the plot of this late neo-realist film, but it is also the name by which the peasants call the arid and poor land of this impervious corner of Campania. The 8mm sequences that Acanfora collects on 5 August and in the other incursions he makes on the set muddy the waters, among peasants, priests, cardinals, carabinieri, judges, French actresses, apparently dead girls and cinema apparatus, one can no longer distinguish between reality and fiction. It matters little since this document is now above all a piece of memory of an entire country.