On 20 May 1977, the day after the screening of Ettore Scola’s Una Giornata Particolare (A Special Day, 1977) at the Cannes Film Festival, Italian newspapers read with the mundane tragedy of war bulletins. The revolutionary Marxists of Prima Linea, a Red Brigades (BR) splinter group, had attempted the sabotage of Milan’s underground railway network with explosives; meanwhile, 5000 police and soldiers were drafted to Rome by Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga to police tens of thousands of tertiary students who met at La Sapienza University to discuss their movement’s direction and protest against Law n. 54 of 5 March 1977: by reforming the dates of several Bank Holidays it had, apparently, ‘gifted Ascension Day to the Bosses’.1 The day after, the same newspapers continued their litany of violence: the Red Brigades had knee-capped a middle-ranking militant of the MSI and, not to be upstaged, neofascist terrorists of the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (Armed Revolutionary Groups, NAR) had executed a Milan jeweller during one of the armed robberies routinely carried out to fund the group’s activities. Meanwhile, the papers reported progress on the compromise agreement between Aldo Moro and Enrico Berlinguer: ‘almost done’,2 according to one reporter. The deal would never materialise, thanks also to the BR’s murder of Moro the following year.
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