Prisoners in Paradise (2003), 58 min. Camilla Calamandrei, dir.

During World War II more than 51,000 Italian soldiers were brought to the United States as prisoners of war.  Camilla Calamandrei’s documentary Prisoners in Paradise traces the previously untold story of these young men, their romances and friendships with American women, and their significant but unrecognized contribution to the Allied war effort.  Featuring rare period footage of POW camps, Prisoners in Paradise features six Italian POWs, and the women they met, and their experiences in America during and after the war.  Ultimately, the film offers a provocative meditation on the meaning of national identity in times of peace and war.

Post-screening discussion with the director led by Peter Vellon, Queens College.