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Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Screen role for disaster dam
Daniel Auteuil
Daniel Auteuil played a hero in Girl on a Bridge
A dam which contributed to the deaths of 2,600 people has become a cinema screen for the première of a film about the tragedy.

In 1963 a landslide into an artificial lake in north east Italy caused a tidal wave more than 250ft high to wash over the Longarone Dam and into the Vajont valley.

Now the story of the catastrophic destruction of villages and towns has been made into a film - Vajont - by the director Renzo Martinelli.

The dam, which remained standing after the disaster, was used as an amphitheatre to screen the film for the first time.

Promise

The movie was projected onto the walls of the dam for its première on Monday in front of an audience made up of survivors and relatives.

"I promised these people that as soon as the film was finished I would bring it here and show it on the dam wall," Martinelli told the paper.

The film, which is based on the testaments of survivors and the families of victims, stars Daniel Auteuil, Michel Serrault and Laura Morante.

The Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sings on the soundtrack to the movie.

The disaster at Vajont reservoir was the subject of an inquiry to discover what had gone wrong in the building of what was then the highest dam in the world.

Manslaughter

Once construction had begun on the dam there were concerns raised about the stability of the surrounding mountain but it was decided to continue with the building.

The inquiry eventually led to three engineers being found guilty of multiple manslaughter.

"I hope the film will make people reflect on the dangers involved when private commercial interests combine with political power to cause disasters," Martinelli added.

It is not the first time that a movie première has taken place at the site of a disaster.

The war film Pearl Harbor was screened aboard a US Navy aircraft carrier at the site of the surprise Japanese attack in which 2,436 people perished.

See also:

20 Oct 00 | Europe
Italy counts cost of flood
17 Jan 01 | Media reports
Giveaway marks Depardieu comeback
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