Those people who do not know by now the popular Italian song “Bella Ciao” it is clear that they have not seen the Spanish series that nobody should miss: The Money Heist (Álex Pina, since 2017), an entertaining and unpredictable robber thriller that jumped from Atresmedia to Netflix and thus has achieved worldwide fame.
It is a conceptual element that inevitably draws attention for its catchy, and it is insisted on during the first seasons. Not so much, of course, as with Cecilia Krull’s “My Life Is Going On,” the one with the titles, but viewers don’t forget it anyway.
And it is not just any musical choice that was made arbitrarily, but rather its dramatic essence fits perfectly into the narrative scheme of the series; even in recent seasons without being overheard during his episodes.
The song “Bella Ciao”: from the real world to ‘La casa de papel’
The origin of “Bella Ciao”, covered by a few modern artists such as Giovanna Daffini, Yves Montand, Goran Bregović, Manu Chao, Ismael Serrano or Manu Pilas and Najwa Nimri for La casa de papel, is still debated. But there is no doubt about its historical uses. Perhaps it came from a Yiddish tune, and yet it is supposed to 19th century farm workers from the Italian Po Valley sang it doing their work in the rice fields.
“It describes the hard lives of these women, with the refrain ‘bella ciao’ repeated over and over again as a kind of litany about their endless commuting to and from work,” explains Jerry Silverman in the pages of his book Songs That Made History Around the World (2011); and continues with these words: “In the original version, the women sing it to themselves. During World War II, new lyrics were written from the point of view of the partisans fighting the fascists, but the refrain “bella ciao” was kept. This time it is the man who is going to fight who uses the phrase ”.
Since then, it has been used as anthem of resistance anti-fascist and the ideals of freedom, the workers and student movements of the twentieth century. But also, if in Spain “Resistiré” (Manuel de la Calva and Carlos Toro Montoro, 1988) was heard a lot while the confinement lasted because of the coronavirus pandemicIn the same spring of 2020, “Bella Ciao” was heard in Italy and some areas of Germany for the same reasons.
Netflix’s Serial Resistance Idea
“The life of the Professor [Álvaro Morte] it revolved around one idea: resistance. His grandfather, who had fought against the fascists in Italy, taught him the song, and he taught it to us, ”says Tokio. [Úrsula Corberó] about “Bella Ciao” in season one of La casa de papel, when he sings it for the first time with Berlin (Pedro Alonso) while they drink wine in a flashback much remembered from “The one who follows her gets her” (1×09); like the skilled robbers of the red jumpsuit and the striking masks of Salvador Dalí in some outburst of jubilation.
In the bowels of the plan and the motivations of the protagonists is the thought of resisting. Against a socioeconomic system that does not offer them any admissible type of vital opportunities and, already involved in the flour of the Royal Mint, against the police forces that are harassing them unceremoniously, with Colonel Luis Prieto (Juan Fernández) and the inspectors Raquel Murillo (Itziar Ituño), then Lisboa, and Ángel Rubio (Fernando Soto) at the head, and against dissensions and confrontations in the interior.
Then, against the relentless persecution to which they are subjected, against the illegal detention and torture of Inspector Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri) and, ultimately, the harm to one of their own; and against the same and worst avatars at the Bank of Spain, again for life or death, with Colonel Luis Tamayo (Fernando Cayo) and the aforementioned inspector looking for their ruin. Resistance as a scenic engine in La casa de papel.