Avenal Documentary Film

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“It is not possible to go through the past except with the mind. Everything that happens afterwards is, by force, a different mo-ment that could be, even it is, a separate story. Our house often comes to mind, and nothing has changed there”.

From the diary of Ester Hirsh, a Hebrew nurse from Prague

 in Cave del Predil during the Great War.


There are places where we believe we glimpse a truth that belongs to us, where we intuitively search our history. Cave del Predil is for me one of those places. Every time I walk along the road that takes me to town, I feel a particular sensation, as if I was being dragged into a different dimen- sion or on a journey through time. The observation of my gaze is lost between the solitude of the structures of the mine and the abandoned buildings, protagonists of a past that is disappearing. However, this place cannot be understood unless it is by accepting its duality, the essential dynamic that has given it life, that dynamic between “above and below, outside and inside.” The town on the surface and the mine. Once this vital relationship is broken, everything seems to be in a deep sleep and little by little it loses its appearance.

When I think of the mine, I think of a sacred place, almost inviolable. The absence of light is abso- lute and sound is only that one produced by flowing water. This darkness is the beginning and the end of everything, the kingdom of birth and gestation. Inside the viscera of the earth, miners have the privilege of touching virgin rocks that have passed through millions of years of orogenesis.

What happens in the depths of the mine seems an allegorical encounter: bodies of strong and cou- rageous men exploring the dark womb of the earth, revealing its most hidden veins, and bringing to light a precious good that is transformed into food for the community . It is still the deep solidarity that characterizes the work of the miners, “down there we are all the same”, one back to the other, united in the desire to see the light again.

This subterranean and archetypal dimension allows us, even with the gloom of a lantern, to reco- gnize deeper realities that speak to us of who we really are. The “inside” and the “below” of the official story or perhaps its image reflected in a mirror that acts as a magnifying glass to show us the humanity hidden behind the great historical events. The story told by the collective memory that flows under our consciousness, limpid and transparent like the one that still passes through the deep galleries of the mine.

Perhaps I will be able to find a lost part of myself in this place, linked to my father, who was born in Cave del Predil in 1942. How can you fill a emptiness, fill an absence? Perhaps diving into memory in search of an origin. A journey through time to discover what we have been and to understand how to move on. I feel that, in some way, my search is the same as that of the inhabitants of Cave del Predil, where the void left by that vital dynamic between “inside” and “outside” is not yet filled.

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Cave del Predil (Raibl in Friulian and German, Raiblj in Slovenian) is located at the foot of Monte Rey in a narrow valley at the foot of the Julian Alps, on the road that leads to the Predil Pass, today the border point with Slovenia at 1156 masl.

Its history begins so long ago, in Roman times, with the first superficial exploitation of its mineral resources. From that moment on, in this small vertex between the Alps, the passing of European history has been observed from a privileged point of view. As a major mining facility, thanks even

to its strategic position, Raibl has been directly involved in major events in modern history up to the end of the Cold War. Its history unravels between the three border lines of Italy, Austria and Slovenia, protagonists of the last century.

The imperial period with the collapse of the hospital in 1910, the front line in the Great War, where the Bretto tunnel served as an invisible bridge for the transport of soldiers, weapons and ammunition to the battle of Isonzo, The annexation to Italy, the inexorable arrival of the Second World War and the well-being of the 50s and 60s. In those decades, the town lived its most splendid time, becoming a true myth. Cave del Predil’s comfort and quality of life have attracted workers from all over Italy (and also from other countries) at least until the 70s.

The town had 2,200 inhabitants, 1,300 workers, two churches, three cinemas and shows, school and services of all kinds. Being a mining town, the cavesa society was made up of mining castes, the labor organization was reflected in external social life. The mine was in charge of guaranteeing, free of charge, heating, medical and school services, entertainment, including the coffin in case of death. Each caste (workers, middle managers and employees) had different rights, concessions and “luxuries”. The faces of the ex-miners marked by time, speak to us of hard but passionate work, capable of creating deep and indelible links.

In Cave we see national borders disappear in a story told in three languages, between peoples who mix and work side by side in the depth of the earth.

With the closure of the plant in 1991, the town has undergone a deep and rapid transformation. History seems to have stopped and continues to live in an immobilized universe, frozen behind the ethereal peaks of the Julian Alps. The inhabitants of Cave move through this landscape suspended in time, memory of an ever more distant and always more idealized past. As Company Town, Raibl will find his reason for being in the mine; those rocks to be explored were “the whole” of the town, those that had decided the physiognomy, the daily life and finally, the future.



The town of Raibl has been overwhelmed and abandoned by history. Its walls, its ceilings, its stre- ets whisper it with every gust of wind, a cold wind that also seems to come from far away.They whisper words that are always more difficult to decipher because time erases memories, takes them away with the passing of seconds, little by little, like the memory of an old lady sitting in front of the house where she was born and where she will die. It is our duty not to let the traces disappear, to save the memory from the oblivion of time.

The narrow walls of the mine preserve the history of strong men, hard as rocks but fragile as leaves in the wind. Men who wanted to go home after work and huddle around a warm table. They looked for decent living conditions for their families and therefore, they entered the veins of the earth every day, to caress the bare rock. These rocks, spectators of man’s events, preserve an intact, pure and transparent memory, protected in the womb of the earth. We want to be the spectators, to listen in silence to the memories “recorded” behind these walls, to observe the flow of memory protected from light as if it were an old film kept in a dark place. Perhaps we will discover that they are all familiar images, sheltered in the deep unconscious, waiting to be re-visited, because they serve to move forward, to imagine a future. This is even the first step to build it.

History flows in our veins, it must not be forgotten.



I grew up in the beautiful nature of Italian Eastern Alps on the multicultural border with Austria and Slovenia. In 2009 I obtained a degree in Philosophy with full mark and honour at Padova’s University. During those years flourished in me an interest in photography and audiovisual language so I got my first camera and therefore, I moved to Barcelona joining to the Independent University to study Creative Documentary Cinema and Film Editing. Trough 2012 I started working as videographer, video editor and photographer for Independent Documentary Cinema projects as well as video creations in Italy, living in Rome and Bologna. Indeed, always looking for travelling experiences and new knowledges. Then in 2016 I decided to come back to Barcelona where I studied Video Mapping and worked in Sinestesia, an art gallery and live concert hall.  In this beautiful place I collaborated with Theatre Companies and Musicians creating videos  and photography. 

My strong love and passion for nature and pristine environment, which comes from my roots, took me  again to Italian Eastern Alps,  searching for local projects and rediscovering life out of big cities. 

Actually I’m working on my first documentary as a director.


Born in Bologna where he lives and works. For more than 30 years he was a partner of the company

Pierrot e la Rosa with which he still collaborates and with whom  he produced the documentary films of Gianni Celati. Since 2008 he has opened Paolo Muran Doc and has made documentaries in Italy and abroad. As director of photography he has signed several documentaries for “La Grande Storia ”by Rai 3 produced by Anthos of Rome

For the realization of documentaries, shorts, and docu-fiction he collaborated with poets, writers and friends (Ermanno Cavazzoni, Gianni Celati and Franco Arminio, Giorgio Comaschi, Maura Argelli, Emilio Marrese, Cristiano Governa).


Paolo Muran Doc

Via Antonio di Vincenzo, 26 40129 Bologna

Tel: (+39) 347 4716249

P.I. 0284454141207

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