A smuggler seems doomed to be caught and condemned, but during the night...
omeone has spied. The gendarme knows that Raphael is smuggling and he even knows where he hides his goods. The trap does not seem to have a way out for the smuggler, who, guarded by the gendarme, does not get a wink of sleep in what seems to be his last night as a free man. At dawn the gendarme will come into his room and escort him along the trail to the place where the rice is hidden, and at that point he will have the proof.
Nobody can help Raphael, if not a miracle that makes the goods disappear. The walls of the small room seem to close in on him, as if they were those of a cell. But maybe there is a glimmer of light, a possibility, hope…
GinoA man of the mountains driven on the trails of smuggling by necessity.
Il gendarmeThe gendarme’s task to stop the smugglers is also difficult because of the solidarity of the people for the outlaws of the border.
RaphaelEven the sliest smuggler always risks loosing his freedom. On his side are strong shoulders, agile legs and… some little trick.
Without doubt the period of the most fervid smuggling activities between the Italian and the French valleys was during the last war from 1940 to 1945. In that sad period the economic conditions of the two countries were certainly not rosy. In Italy the war had reduced the availability of many basic foods, while the massive recruitment of rural manpower for the army had strongly limited the agricultural production. In France it was even worse. Occupied by the Nazi-fascist forces since June 1940 and subjected by the occupants to a highly controlled requisition of all products, France had to suffer a relentless rationing of consumer goods until the end of the war. Like in Italy in France, too, the lack of food drove many people to the black market, to smuggling or at least to clandestine exchanges.
Ottonelli Elisabetta – Il Contrabbando – Storie di contrabbando per i colli di Viso – Comunità Montana Valli del Monviso – Progetto Alcotra Vis’Oc
Ottonelli Elisabetta – Les contrebandiers – Histoires de contrebande entre Queyras et vallées du Viso – L’ Office de Tourisme du Queyras – Projet Alcotra Vis’Oc