Vajont - La diga del disonore (2001) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • On October 9th, 1963, at 10:39 pm, 260 million cubic meters of rock fell down from Mount Toc into the artificial lake formed by the Vajont dam, one of the the higher dams in the world. The landslide formed a 250-meter high wave and 50 million cubic meters of water destroyed the majority the houses of the town (Longarone) below, killing almost 2000 people. Planned by engineer Semenza, Vajont dam (262 meters) had to supply the electricity in all the houses of the region. Tina Merlin, a journalist from "L'Unitá", tried for years to denounce the danger to build a dam under Mount Toc; she especially denounced all the omissions by the corrupted politicians and builders in charge of the dam construction. They preferred to trust in old geologist Dal Piaz instead of listening to engineer Semenza young son's alarming analysis. No one seemed to understand the high danger until that October fatal night.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The story begins in 1959. The Vajont Dam, located in the valley between the Friuli and Veneto in northern Italy, is now almost complete. The EDIS (Adriatic Society Of Electricity) has to do pelvic Vajont as "the largest in the world", building a piece of Italy for tomorrow. The project designers are engineers Carlo Semenza, and Mario Alberico Biadene Pancini. At the dam also works the surveyor Olmo Montaner, a native of Erto, one of the countries that dominate the valley; Olmo believes that the construction of the dam and the lake that will follow, will bring a lot of money in the valley, but there are voices in the country that protest, fueled by the journalist of the Unit Tina Merlin, who has been writing against the EDIS, denouncing the abuses and misdeeds, and calling it a state within a state. When the work was almost completed, start the setbacks. In April 1959, close to Dam Pontesei, 3 million cubic meters of mountain detach from the ridge, causing a wave of twenty meters that overwhelms and kills Tiziani, a worker who was an attendant. Afterwards, the EDIS is convening of a special meeting, in which they decide to entrust the geological survey of the Valley Vajont Semenza to Edward, son and disciple of the engineer Semenza Giorgio Dal Piaz, considered the foremost expert in the world of the Dolomites.

    Meanwhile, life goes on in the valley of Vajont albeit with some difficulties and fears. During the celebration of Good Friday in Erto, Elm knows and loves Ancilla Teza, a girl of Blyth, the country situated just below the dam created by the dam.

    Shortly after, in the valley start to look for warning signs like at Pontesei. On Mount Toc, just above the newly constructed artificial lake, suddenly opening a rift in the ground. From Piaz argues that the material is crumbling surface, nothing short of alarming, and the doubts raised by the engineer Pancini are immediately silenced by Biadene.

    Towards the end of that year, Edoardo Semenza delivers his report, but it's scaremongering about the dangers of constructing the dam go unheard. Edoardo Semenza reveals the existence, at Mount Toc, a large paleofrana estimated at 200 million cubic meters of rock, which threatens to collapse into the lake if they were going to invade the processes of wetting his feet. Once again, however, his report remains unheeded and the Ministry are received the report from Piaz, much more optimistic. when the dam comes officially starting the zone of low Erto is submerged by the reservoir. Among those who are forced to leave their homes is also Olmo, who has since consolidated its relationship with Ancilla.

    Along with water, however, also come with the unexpected. On November 4 that same year, a large landslide estimated at one million cubic meters of rock is detached from Monte Toc landslide into the lake, raising fears and concerns among residents. Edoardo Semenza tries again to convince his father and other engineers to abandon the project, to no avail. It also organized the panel of nine in Vittorio Veneto, a simulation of the landslide of 50 million cubic meters, using a 1:200 scale model, which shows that the reservoir at full capacity the lake could overflow, with disastrous consequences Longarone. The percentage considered security is estimated at 700 meters above sea level, by Professor Ghetti.

    Meanwhile, Tina Merlin, on trial in Milan, is acquitted on all charges, thanks to the testimony of farmers in Vajont. In the spring of 1961, Elm and Ancilla get married, and are going to live in Blyth, and shortly after Carlo Semenza dies a natural death. The operation guide is taken from Biadene Alberico, who does not hesitate to send to hell with the geological expertise and bring the reservoir at an altitude of 715 meters in order to perform the test and sell the dam to the State.

    On September 2, 1963, an earthquake of unprecedented violence shakes the whole valley, while the poles installed on the Toc surveillance revealed that the landslide is moving faster and faster. In a panic, Biadene orders to remove as much water as possible to arrive at an altitude of 700, but doing so only causes the acceleration of the rate of fall. It was decided to evacuate as many people as possible from the area, but the operations are made difficult by landslides that have destroyed the road linking the two sides of the valley.

    On October 9, 1963, Olmo Montaner is called to the dam and ordered to stay overnight to monitor the situation on Mount Toc. The next day, according to his estimates, he and his wife, expecting a child, will move from Longarone to the Belluno Ancilla.

    That night, at Blyth, many people in the county gather in bars and other venues to watch the champions cup football game between Real Madrid and Glasgow Rangers on the bar TVs while at the same time note that the Toc Filippin moves and Elm phones for Biadene to express their alarm, but given that we now share the lake is 700 meters, Biadene believe that the worst is over.

    At 10:39 p.m., however, nature itself overturns. 260 million cubic meters of rock from Mount Toc detach and fall into the narrow lake in a huge landslide, literally filling up the lake east of the dam and raising a body of water over 200 meters high and 50 million cubic meters thick. 25 million cubic meters of water crashes into the countries Erto, Casso along the lakefront east of the dam, the wiping out the villages of San Martino, Pineda, Spesse, Patata, il Christo, Frasein: 160 deaths. The other half overtops the dam (smashing the crown) as a megatsunami and rushes towards the plain of the Piave. All of the towns west and below the dam are wiped off the face of the Earth: Blyth, the villages of Pirago, Villanova, Faè, the county with the fraction of Castellavazzo Codissago and the township of Vajont: over 2,000 dead in the flood.

    The next day, Olmo Montaner, grief-stricken and covered with mud, walks the desolate plain, where once was Longarone, and makes a vain search for his wife. In the final scene, Olmo Montaner returns from the grave of Elder and Free Ancilla, that it was his son knows that there's nothing underneath, but he speaks the same with them. Although he was convinced that the dam Vajont brought money into the valley, he will never forgive the men who allowed the disaster to happen.

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