“Chiara Lubich – love conquers all”, a film shown recently on TV, offered a fascinating and historically accurate presentation of her life. The exhibition dedicated to the founder of the Focolare Movement, based at the Gallerie in Trent, Italy, was a source on inspiration for the cast and crew. Its images and documentation provided a historical and social context for her story.

The film was broadcast by Rai Uno, Italy’s leading television network, and, thanks to Rai Play, viewers all over the world were able to watch. ”Chiara Lubich – love conquers all” was a great success with the public and helped to revive interest in the founder of the Focolare Movement at the end of this year dedicated to the centenary of her birth (1920 – 2020). In addition to many publications and materials available online, the exhibition entitled “Chiara Lubich, City and World”, set up in the Galleries of Trent, Italy, and accessible online in five languages, certainly enriches our understanding of Chiara Lubich’s story. The exhibition was the inspiration behind the film itself which was produced by Rai Television – Eliseo Multimedia and co-financed by the Province of Trent. This fact contributed to the creation of a striking and historically accurate setting for the production.

“I visited the exhibition at the Gallerie as soon as I arrived in Trent,” said Sabrina Balestra who designed the sets. “It was fundamental in my getting to know Chiara, her personality and her thoughts. It helped me in reconstructing not only the city of Trent which was destroyed by constant bombing during the time of the Second World War, but also her whole world, her roots and the bond with her people in the places where she grew up. All this is relevant to the film.” Maestro Carmine Padula, author of the soundtrack, continued, “Shortly before starting filming, I was offered the chance to visit this exhibition. At that stage, I was looking for inspiration to help me tell the story of the great figure of Chiara Lubich in the best way possible and it was truly a wonderful experience to immerse myself in her world.”

Anna Maria Rossi, curator of the exhibition, who worked with Giuliano Ruzzier and Maurizio Gentilini in following the screenplay of the film as a consultant for the Chiara Lubich Centre, confirmed, “The accurate work of historical and textual research which was at the basis of the preparation of the exhibition, including the use of previously unpublished documents provided by the Chiara Lubich Archive and the Historical Foundation of Museums in Trent, was very useful in outlining the historical and social context for the film’s story.”

Giuseppe Ferrandi, director of the Historical Museum of Trent, expressed his “complete satisfaction with the way in which this TV film, partially financed by our cultural institution, has succeeded in attracting a large television audience. As well as stimulating interest in the biography of this extraordinary woman, it has also succeeded in recounting the impact the war made on everyday life, a war which, if we think of the experience in Trent between 1943 and 1945, is chronologically distant but terribly contemporary.”

The Chiara Lubich Centre which also worked in conjunction with the Historical Museum of Trent in the production of the film was also very happy with the outcome. Alba Sgariglia and João Manoel Motta, who are responsible for the Centre, explained, “In a very artistic way, Giacomo Campiotti’s direction was able to highlight the revolutionary strength of a young woman who overcame the limitations and divisions of her time and opened up new pathways of solidarity and fraternity. She personally lived such relationships first with the community of Trent and then involving people from all over the world.”

Anna Lisa Innocenti