• Charlie Vogelsang

The Lost Shoes (2020) Review

A documentary showing how one naïve man from the countryside can side with terrorists to serve his political and moral agenda.

Loosely inspired by The Lost Shoes, Holy Water and Red Brigades by Armando Lanza, The Lost Shoes follows Lanza intertwining his personal life with his revolutionary efforts through history. Directed by Tomaso Aramini and Rafqfuad Yarahmadi, it explores Lanza’s political journey as a militant in the ranks of the Revolutionary Left and then the guerrilla outfit known as The Red Brigades.

Lanza begins as an idealistic but compassionate young man who eventually becomes a violent terrorist with The Red Brigades. They are notorious for being involved in numerous incidents including abducting and murdering prominent politicians and military personnel. One of the biggest questions posed throughout, is what drives humans to do this and pinpoint the moment that Lanza became so extreme.

Throughout the documentary, both directors incorporate interviews, archive footage, news reports and fresh, modern footage into its narrative. It’s an effective way to tell Lanza’s story without it being a simple recollection by him. The multitude of media really make the documentary more engaging and allow the audience to experience history with Lanza, rather than just listening to him talk through it like a lecture.

There are so many interviewees in The Lost Shoes that you have to be on your toes to keep up. Using multiple people from different sides of life really gives more weight to the story and portrays a full world rather than someone’s point of view. It makes the documentary more credible and informative instead of showing one-sided propaganda.

The Lost Shoes is a marvellous documentary

For first-time directors of a feature documentary, it’s impressive that Aramini and Yarahamadi manage to make it feel so balanced and unbiased. They show Lanza in a considerate way - but don’t let him completely off the hook. We are shown the subject in a sympathetic light through his family and naivety as a young man, but then shown shades of darkness through his political involvement. It makes Lanza such an interesting watch as his morals are ambiguous like most of humanity.

Unfortunately, some of the interviews do drag on a little bit. At times, it feels like a conversation between Lanza and someone else that almost boxes the audience out - it can be quite boring after a few minutes. In contrast to the other visuals of bright colours and unique artwork, the interviews are shot in the same style. Due to their length, that’s why they seem a little long-winded. Perhaps if the interviews were edited more or shot differently, they wouldn’t have seemed as laboured.

Overall, though, The Lost Shoes is a marvellous documentary and the way the directors show Lanza’s story is phenomenal. It’s strange to sympathise with someone who has been involved in dangerous and horrible acts but they explain the morals behind it which makes you at least appreciate his reasoning. Lanza wanted to give everyone their rights and fight against the fascists - but sadly ended up in a world of hate. It'll make you think about your own actions and what you'd do to support what you believe in.

With the sinister music to fit the dark tones mixed with the visuals, The Lost Shoes is a documentary you should check out if you love history mixed with great filmmaking.