Silence and Noise. Military Honor in the Public and Private Correspondence of the L’armata s’agapò Case


  • Michael Guarneri University of Bologna
  • Lidia Santarelli Princeton University



Correspondence, Armed Forces, Military honor, Guido Aristarco, Renzo Renzi


Published in February 1953 in Guido Aristarco’s magazine Cinema Nuovo, Renzo Renzi’s film proposal L’armata s’agapò broke the long-standing Italian media silence about the fascist aggression and occupation of Greece. More than the film proposal itself (which attracted very little attention at the time of its publication), it was the arrest, detention, military trial and conviction of Aristarco and Renzi for contempting the Armed Forces in September-October 1953 that created noise and prompted Italian citizens of all ages and socio-economic, professional, political and religious background to critically re-examine the events of the Second World War. By transgressing the prohibition against discussing fascist Italy’s military campaigns, and by calling these campaigns a grotesque farce with a tragic ending, Aristarco and Renzi managed to open a debate that, from the pages of a specialized magazine aimed at a small audience of cinephiles, moved to a reporter-filled courtroom for the whole country to follow. Through the analysis of public and private correspondence about the ‘s’agapò case’, the essay investigates the concept of military honor in relation to the conduct of the Italian Army in Greece from 1940 to 1943. In so doing, the essay shows that the legal proceedings occasioned by L’armata s’agapò weren’t only a domestic matter of freedom of expression in a Christian-Democrats-run, imperfectly democratic republic risen from the ashes of the monarchic-fascist regime; they were also part of an international affair concerning the political and military positioning of Italy in the new world order of the Cold-War era.



How to Cite

Guarneri, M., & Santarelli, L. (2023). Silence and Noise. Military Honor in the Public and Private Correspondence of the L’armata s’agapò Case. Cinergie – Il Cinema E Le Altre Arti, 12(23), 37–59.