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WITNESS
Rice Girls
Former labourers relive their youth and their dreams in the paddy fields along Po valley.
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2010 11:58 GMT

Filmmaker: Matteo Bellizzi

Risotto is one of the staples of the Italian cuisine, best made with the finest Arborio rice from Italy's Po valley.

Traditionally the rice was sawn by hand, the labourer, wating barefoot, bent double thrusting the next seedling into the mud.

The cheapest agricultural labourers were often young women, and after the war, many of them were hired as seasonal workers in the rice paddies of the Piedmont region.

Riso Amaro, a masterpiece of Italian neo-realistic cinema brought their story and the image of the major character Silvana Mangano to the world.

Fifty years on, the labour is now done by machines but a group of those women, now elderly, are making a pilgrimage back to the Po valley.

Filmmaker Matteo Bellizzi joined them as they relived their youth and their hopes for the future in the paddy fields along the Po vally.

Rice Girls highlights the enormous changes that have taken place in modern day Italy and reconstructs the seminal portrait of an epoch whilst also confronting the fictitious world that the film created.

Rice Girls can be seen from Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 0830, 1900; Wednesday: 0330, 1400 and 2330.

Source:
Al-Jazeera
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