Financial Times

Nobody was plotting revolution on the night of June 28 1969 at the mafia-run gay bar on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s West Village. Mostly, patrons just wanted to be left alone. The police raided the Stonewall Inn, as they often did, but this time they met resistance, and resistance detonated six days of mayhem. Someone uprooted a parking meter and used it as a battering ram. Street kids formed a chorus line and faced down the police with synchronised kicks and a song:“We are the Stonewall Girls, / We wear our hair in curls, / We wear no underwear, / We show our pubic hair.” A fire hose was deployed.

The second world war left Italy in a shambles that proved fruitful for art. A republic was born amid the rubble and, after decades of fascist mythmaking, a new artistic frankness thrived. Yet one form of stylistic narrowness gave way to another — novelists, film-makers and photo graphers subscribed to the tenets of neorealism and united around a common project: to portray their devastated country unsparingly, with all its squalor, toughness and hope.