At the very start of the sixties, Roberto Rossellini, the most celebrated of Italian film directors (Open City; Germany, Year Zero; Stromboli) decided to turn away from the conventional film industry to devote himself to a vast project: a series of historical programs retracing the adventure of mankind from the time of the cave-dwellers up to the conquest of outer space. This monumental project (over 60 hours were planned, half of which were made between 1963 and 1974) is explicitly linked to the ambitions of the Encyclopedists of the Enlightenment period.

Produced by

Vivo film, INA in coproduction with Istituto Luce e Rai Trade

in collaboration with Rai Teche, with the participation of CINE CINEMA e TV5, in collaboration with Fondazione Roberto Rossellini


With: Adriano Aprà, Claudio Bondì, Gianni Bonicelli, Beppe Cino, Silvia d’Amico Bendicò, Carlo Fioretti, Giusto Puri Purini, Renzo Rossellini

Technical data

Year: 2006

Running time: 52 min / 88 min

Country: France/Italy


Format: color with b/w inserts, digital 16/9

Festivals and awards

Cinéma du Réel 2006

International Sales

Rai Trade

Italian Distribution

Rai Trade