18th september 2022
Non competitive section
A Team – From 1976 to 1980, Italy was the team to beat. We talk about tennis and the trophy being fought for is the Davis Cup. The team consists of four players, four champions: Corrado Barazzutti, Paolo Bertolucci, Adriano Panatta, Tonino Zugarelli. In those five years they reached the finals four times, winning only in ’76 against Chile. The finals they reached but then lost were in ’77 against Australia, in ’79 against the USA and in ’80 against Czechoslovakia. In 1976 and 1977 the team had a legend of Italian tennis, Nicola Pietrangeli, who had only retired from competitive activity a few years before, as non-player captain. Pietrangeli would be exonerated by his players after the ’77 defeat in Australia. He considers it the biggest betrayal he suffered in his life.
The feature film, a film version of the passionate and intense docuseries, recounts some of the funniest and most emotional episodes. In particular, it focuses on one of the four finals, the one played in ’76 against Pinochet’s Chile and for this reason at the centre of a fierce political battle. A victory, which even today, 122 years after the birth of the Davis Cup, remains the only Italian victory.
Directed by: Domenico Procacci
Production: Fandango, Sky, Luce Cinecittà
Producer: Roberto Pisoni, Dino Vannini, Gaia Pasetto, Laura Paolucci, Eleonora Savi, Ivan Fiorini
Editing: Giogiò Franchini
Cinematography: Gherardo Gossi
Running time: 80
I had been thinking for a while about devoting time and attention to the ’76 Italian victory in the Davis Cup. In truth, I was not thinking of devoting so much time and attention, but studying that event I realised that, however articulated it was – the sporting feat leading up to the final, the political battle, the attacks on the players, the departure with the escort, the final in Pinochet’s Chile, the red shirts, the return with the cup but amidst indifference – it was only the emerged part of a much larger iceberg. I found much more that deserved to be told and I tried to do it to the best of my ability and with the help of people more capable than me. The documentary covers an arc that goes from the end of the 1960s to the last final played by that team in the 1980s and I wanted the protagonists themselves, Panatta, Barazzutti, Bertolucci and Zugarelli, together with Nicola Pietrangeli, captain in ’76 and ’77, to tell their story. No one could have done it better.