Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage French Advertising

Vintage advertising for the Béret Basque ELO, made by the world's oldest beret manufacturer still in operation: Laulhère, in Oloron St Marie.
And label:

Monday, August 30, 2010

La Columna

La Columna is a UK based re-enactment group commemorating and celebrating the international volunteers who went to fight alongside the Spanish people in their defence against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War. La Columna is a non-party political organisation but with strong sympathies for the Spanish Republican cause of the late 1930s.
Richard reading Spanish PaperThis member of La Columna is portraying a Brigader at rest, he is reading a copy of La Vanguardia one of many newspapers produced by the Republican side during the war. 

Ambulance driverMairi Ann looking rather demure dressed as a British volunteer Ambulance driver cum nurse who served alongside the more commonly remembered male volunteers of the International Brigades.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Black Beret of the Russian Emergency Services Ministry

A schoolgirl adjusts her beret, part of the uniform of Russian emergencies ministry workers, as she looks at the reflection in her mobile phone in St. Petersburg September 26, 2008. Special classes have been formed in a local school to train senior pupils to be emergencies ministry workers and police officers after they graduate.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vintage Boinas Elosegui

These beautiful vintage and never worn boinas Elosegui, I found on EBay, from the stock of a New York hatter. A good example of excellent quality; these berets are probably from the 1950's (??) and the leather headband, silk lining and the wool are in perfect condition.
I checked with Boinas Elosegui in Tolosa, Spain, but haven't received confirmation of age yet. 

If any of you recognize these particular models, I would love to hear more about them!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Bosnian Series #6 - Sarajevo, 1941 and Present

I found this photograph (above) of a Bosnian Muslim and liked it straight away, but... there is no story with it (that I know of), so it would make a very meager post.
But then, in the archives, I still had this picture (below), from the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota:
Photo of women and children in street together: A Muslim veiled woman, Zejneba Hardaga (right) and Jewish woman, Rivka Kalb (2nd from right) and her children are guided on the streets of Sarajevo in 1941. Zejneba covered the yellow star on the Rivka's left arm with her veil. Bahrija Hardasa, sister-in-law of Zejneba, is on the far left.
Photo of women and children in the street together: A Muslim veiled woman, Zejneba Hardaga (right) and Jewish woman, Rivka Kalb (2nd from right) and her children (with beret) are guided on the streets of Sarajevo in 1941. Zejneba covered the yellow star on the Rivka's left arm with her veil. Bahrija Hardasa, sister-in-law of Zejneba, is on the far left. 
A great picture of what once was the most (multi-)cultural city in the Former Yugoslavia.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Muslims of Macedonia

Macedonia 1959, greeting guests from the village of Podgorce who have brought a ram as a gift.
Labuništa (MacedonianЛабуништа) is a village in the southwestern region of the Republic of Macedonia, located in Struga MunicipalityLabunista has a large Muslim population and,
Labunista Muslim wedding. Men and musicians relax and are served sweets (caramels).
like the Muslims in the Yugoslav Federal Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina under Tito's communist rule, the Macedonian Muslims found an acceptable head cover in the Basque beret.
Presentation of 12,000 dinars and ram by father to son in honor of grandson's Sunet.
I found some beautiful old photographs of Labunista life in the 1950's and early 60's; many berets on workers heads - a tradition that still survives till today.
Pecalbari (migrant workers) returning home to village from distant places such as Skopje. The bus comes from Ohrid to Labuniste. Children have evidently come to meet fathers and other relatives.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Two of Us - Le veil homme at l'enfant

The Two of Us (Le veil homme et l'enfant) is the story of a young Jewish boy living in Nazi-occupied Paris, who is sent by his parents to the countryside to live with an elderly Catholic couple until France’s liberation. Forced to hide his identity, the eight-year-old, Claude (played delicately by first-time actor Alain Cohen), bonds with the irascible, staunchly anti-Semitic Grampa (Michel Simon), who improbably becomes his friend and confidant. 

Poignant and lighthearted, The Two of Us was acclaimed director Claude Berri’s debut feature, based on own childhood experiences, and gave the legendary Simon one of his most memorable roles in the twilight of his career.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fellini's Amarcord

Amarcord is a 1973 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale that combines poignancy with bawdy comedy. It tells the story of a wild cast of characters inhabiting the fictional Borgo based on Fellini's hometown of Rimini in 1930s Fascist Italy and shows lots of berets! Amarcord is Romagnolo for "I remember".
Titta's sentimental education is emblematic of Italy's "lapse of conscience". Fellini skewers Mussolini's ludicrous posturings and those of a Catholic Church that "imprisoned Italians in a perpetual adolescence" by mocking himself and his fellow villagers in comic scenes that underline their incapacity to adopt genuine moral responsibility or outgrow foolish sexual fantasies.
The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Director and Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
Painfully, I could not help not-noticing the enormous influence Fellini had on my once admired director Emir Kusturica, with many scenes from Times of the Gypsies and Underground directly copied from Amarcord. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More from Italy: Federico Fellini

The Italian film director Federico Fellini was born in the seaside village of Rimini on January 20, 1920. He was the oldest of three children, and a keen observer of the characters of his small town upbringing. He left for Rome in 1938 and enrolled in university to avoid being drafted into the service. He left school and in the years prior to the outbreak of World War II he made his living as a cartoonist. He also began writing and acting in sketch comedy productions and radio programs with his good friend Aldo Fabrizi. During this time period he met his wife, the actress Giuletta Masina who became a great influence on his work. Another famous Italian director, Roberto Rossellini, wished to cast Fellinis' friend Fabrizi in one of his films and Fellini arranged their meeting. Through that contact he started work as an assistant scriptwriter and was given access to the inner workings of how films are created and edited, thus beginning his new career as a film director.
Federico Fellini; center, actor Leopoldo Trieste; right, screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, around the time of Lo sceicco bianco
His career in cinema spanned five decades and he gained much critical acclaim. He won many awards including four Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category. His films offer a combination of themes including memory, dreams, fantasy and desire. They are often intimate looks at people at their most bizarre and the term "Felliniesque" is used when depicting an ordinary scene that has been altered by the addition of hallucinatory imagery. Many current filmmakers such as Woody Allen, David Lynch, Pedro Almodovar and Terry Gilliam have claimed to have been influenced in their work by Fellini.
Federico Fellini died of a heart attack the day after celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with Giuletta on 31 October 1993 in Rome.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Italy - Anti Fascist Beret

Walter Audisio (1909 – 1973) was a Italian partisan and politician. He was responsible for the death of Benito Mussolini.
In school, Audisio rose to the top of his class, and first worked making Borsalino hats during the Great Depression. Next he worked for years as an accountant before entering in 1931 a group of clandestine anti-fascists. The local group was discovered by the OVRA, and in 1934 Audisio was sentenced to five years of solitary confinement on the island of Ponza. Released during World War II, he resumed his activities against the government of Benito Mussolini, and in September 1943 he started to organize the first bands of partisans in Casale Monferrato. During this time he held jobs in the Fascist civil service. Later he joined the Italian Communist Party and commanded Garibaldine formations operating in the Province of Mantova and the Po Valley.
He became the inspector of the Brigate Garibaldi Brigade and, in January 1945, the principal figure of the Italian resistance movement in Milan. He used the Nom de guerre "Comandante Valerio", a name possibly also used by Luigi Longo. As an official of the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, he received on April 28, 1945 the order to enter Dongo and enforce the capital punishment that was decreed against Mussolini and others in the fascist hierarchy. The death of Mussolini remains shrouded in mystery today, but Audisio always claimed that he was the one who shot and killed the dictator and his mistress, Claretta Petacci.
After the war, Audisio was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies for Alessandria in 1948 with the Italian Communist Party as part of the Popular Democratic Front. He supported the party until 1963, when he entered to the Italian Senate. In 1968 he left to work for Italian gasoline company Eni. He died five years later in 1973 of a heart attack. His memoirs, titled In nome del popolo italiano, were published two years after his death, in 1975.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Italy - Fascist Beret

A woman with beret kissing the Italian Fascist flag on a 1930's propaganda poster. 
In reality, the beret wasn't a favorite among Italian fascists (unlike their Spanish counterparts) - instead they wore the most unpractical, but most impressive, headgear of WWII. See below

Meanwhile, the British fascists (and let's not forget, there were a good number of them) adopted the black beret fanatically. 
Women Blackshirts on parade in Liverpool give the fascist salute
The British Union of Fascists had 50,000 members at one point

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Scandinavian Series #2 - Basker Bosse

The last thing I expected when searching the internet for beret related information from the far north, was another beret-blog... But yes, beret enthusiast Sandra Staffas does exactly that - blogging on Basque berets at Baskerspaning. The blog is written in Swedish, but Google's instant translation makes it fairly understandable.
Sandra Staffas
What's more, she also set up a web shop, selling berets from Boinas Elosegui, marinières and bandanas. 
It is great to see there is a big enough audience to support us!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yerba, Mate & Bombillas

For those of you who never had the pleasure of sipping yerba from a mate, it may seem strange to see this post on The Beret Project... It is another one of my passions and in many ways, closely related to the Basque beret.  Who hasn't seen pictures of the archetypal gauchos, wearing their berets, sipping yerba around the campfire against a setting sun? 

But there is more than symbolism and stereotypical images between berets and yerba; the enjoyment and appreciation of an age old tradition, practical functional implements without the stimulus from marketing managers and fashion guru's, continuing a tradition...
Knowing how many of The Beret Project readers enjoy this drink, I imported a small quantity of very nice mates (the hollowed out gourd from which you drink) and bombillas (the straw with a sieve at the end to prevent the dust and twigs to go into your mouth).
The mates are original hollowed out gourds, covered with with fine Argentine leather and woven material, topped with an aluminium ring. Each mate comes with it's own stainless steel bombilla

As it is impossible to list every individual mate on the web site (and they are all different), I made two categories: brown shades (light to dark brown leather and everything in between) and light shades (beige, light grey, greenish grey).  

Much more information on yerba, mate and bombillas can be found here, or here, or here or have a look here to watch how to prepare your yerba

The Scandinavian Series #1 _ Foreign language Lessons

Interestingly, the Basque beret is much more than an obscurity in Scandinavian life. Of course, we have seen Ingmar Bergman on this blog before, but there is much more to find up North. Plenty material to justify The Scandinavian Series on this blog.
Today, I start appropriately with "Foreign languages", being grateful to the instant translations that Google offers to help me understand the Nordic web sites.

Marit Ekkernes, assistent principal at the Ljan Skole school in Oslo, explains the importance of foreign languages in Norway's Aftenposten Newspaper. and I couldn't agree more. 

Norwegian French Teacher Morten Fr. Lund on Ljan school using symbols and culture in teaching. Here he puts a beret on the head of student Meri Moen.
"A taste for good cheese, fast cars and ski sports generate a lot of stimulus, thanks to confident teachers, aiding strong language skills. We emphasize that students should have many different approaches to language", said Marit, who has trained as a teacher in Italy. "Textbooks on Italian for Norwegian 12-year-olds do not exist, so she creates educational materials and some even find her on YouTube. We travel the map, learning culture and game forms. We sing songs, and later this fall we will roll out a little pasta."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Romani, Basque Berets and Stole Popov

As mentioned before, to combine my fascinations for both the Basque beret and the Romani people is a hard one. Luckily, the great (and much undervalued) film 'Gypsy Magic' by director Stole Popov, combines the two. All pictures taken from the film.
From the Macedonian Cinema Information Center:
The action of the movie takes place in a Gypsy settlement, and the main protagonists are the members of one large Romany family. Taip and Remzija have six children. Their source of income is the sale of the old things that they pick up from the city dump. But there also are others that have their eyes set on the city dump so Taip gets into a conflict with Omer, the leader of a gang whose members do not hesitate to use daggers as an argument in the quarrels.
The poverty his family lives in does not prevent Taip from dreaming, dreaming of India, the ancient fatherland of Gypsies. The incidental acquaintance with Dr. Ridzu, ethnic Hindu, a member of the American contingent of UNPREDEP (United Nations Preventive Deployment) in Macedonia, gives him an idea about how to make the money he needs to buy a horse which will take his family to India. Among other things, he needs the money to buy a yellow metal bed, the year’s old dream of Ramzija. That is how the stream of "unfortunate events" begins in the family of Taip. Dr. Ridzu signs the death certificates for the grandmother, the mother, and the sons. For the deaths Taip gets money from the social welfare funds. This way, "the dead" are condemned to a life in the enclosed room of the improvised home of Taip.
In such circumstances, one of Taips sons unveils his true nature and begins a love affair with the Indian. At the funeral of the third son, Bajram who agrees to die only if a real burial is organized, Taip is late with the exhumation and bad fortune takes over his family. The dreamer, Taip, faces the misfortunes that happen to his close relatives. 
The money he took is not enough to make his dreams come true. In the end, in the feud with Omer, who was killed by Taip’s son, Fazli, Taip himself is murdered. His body, leaning against the steps of the freight train departs for somewhere away from the Romany settlement.