Margins: A film about skin and punk life in the Italian provinces

I dislike 99% of punk and skinhead movies – even the better ones usually only make me cringe. There are exceptions: I thought the US punks in the very watchable Green Room were authentic (the boneheads perhaps less so) and Russia 88 was both clever and funny. But Romper Stomper? Sid and Nancy? Farming? Give me a break.

For once, though, I didn’t have any objections to the way skins and punks were depicted in Margins (original title: Margini), the new movie by Niccolò Falsetti that’s out in Italian cinemas now and also seems to be doing the rounds at international festivals. Granted, the characters in Margins aren’t representative of skinheads or punks in general – they portray punks and skins in Italy, or more specifically in the provinces, and this they do very convincingly. Having only lived in Italy since 2020, I might miss some nuances, but the characters on screen talked, looked and acted very much like people I’ve encountered in real life in these past two years. Italy has its share of small dead-end towns where nothing ever seems to be happening for the one or two resident skins. But they have a car and a sleeping bag, and you meet them at every single gig within a 200-mile radius. They’re the kids that Margini is about.

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‘Skinheads’ by Davide Skin from Genoa, 1988

This is a short article by Davide ‘Skin’ that originally appeared in Italian Gradinata Nord, a zine providing “culture and free information for the Fossa dei Grifoni”, the ultras of Genoa CFC, in 1988. We would like to thank Guendalina Buonavita for sending us this little gem.

Photo by Fabrizio Barile
Translation by Francesca Chiari

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Cosenza in our hearts: an interview with Lumpen

South Italy is a beautiful place, even if living there can be difficult for many who leave in search of a better life. But there are those who decide to stay to create something different, which then becomes a source of pride, and they decide to export it to other places – for example, by recording a new album. Just like Lumpen, an Oi band from Calabria that has been active in the skinhead scene for more than 20 years. Francesca Chiari spoke to Silverio Tucci, the band’s original guitarist from Cosenza.

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Rimini skingirl: an interview with Betty Reazione

Ah, Rimini – one of Europe’s major tourist destinations, home to a sandy beach and over 1,000 hotels. But also the birthplace of important Italian Oi bands such as Dioxina, who were active from 1981–1986, and Reazione, who have carried on the flame since the 90s. Francesca Chiari interviewed Betty Reazione, founding member and long-standing bassist of the latter band.

Part of our Skingirls Italia series (click here for part 1 and part 2)

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From the outskirts of Milan: Sempre Peggio

In Italy, like everywhere else, the live music situation is pretty dire at the moment. With regular gigs all being cancelled, sometimes the kids are lucky enough to catch bands playing acoustic gigs in parks and such. But in September, an anti-fascist benefit concert was organised outdoors at the CPA, a legendary centro sociale (occupied social centre) in the south Florence area. One of the three bands was Sempre Peggio, who are among the most cherished groups on the Italian Oi scene right now. Francesca Bologna had a chat with Martin, the singer of the Milanese band.

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Genoa skingirl: an interview with Guendalina Buonavita

How do skinhead girls get involved in the scene? Is it the music, the look, or the culture that grabs their attention first? Surely, the reasons differ – it’s safe to say, though, that football doesn’t tend to be the initial spark. Except when you’re from Genoa and your name is Guendalina Chiari. Our correspondent Francesca Bologna spoke with the long-standing face of the Italian skinhead scene about her football and music recollections from the 1980s-90s.
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Roman skingirl: an interview with Lorena Plescia of Fun

How many skingirl vocalists can you think of? There were certainly not very many in the 1980s. But in Italy, Lorena Plescia was singing for the original Roman Oi band FUN as early as in 1982. Our new correspondent Francesca Chiari spoke to her about the early Roman skinhead scene.

This is the first of several articles dedicated to women who have left a mark on the skinhead scene of Italy.

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This ugly old world: a chat with IENA

Remember hearing Rixe for the first time? It felt like a lightning bolt instantly pulverising a world of facile pop-punk ‘Oi’ bands – within seconds, any notion that they had a ‘right’ to exist was put to rest.

The debut EP by IENA hit us in a very similar vein. Although not actually a skinhead band, IENA certainly sound like one. That’s partly down to Marco’s vocal delivery, which one may describe as more domineering than punk singing – more “one step closer and you’re dead” than “fuck you, I won’t do my homework”. Continue reading

Italia Skins! An interview with Flavio Frezza

There are so many Italian skinheads living in London today, one wonders when they’ll start running out of them back home. Younger on average than the indigenous skinhead population, they infuse our scene with the kind of energy only a country shaped like a steel-capped boot could produce.

True enough, the relationship between the local tribes and new arrivals has sometimes been a bit… tense. To contribute to a better understanding between the two, we thought we’d find out more about Italian skinheads and their specific history. Who better to ask than Flavio Frezza, who has written a book titled Italia Skins?

Matt Crombieboy spoke to him about Italian skins past and present, and we’re proud to present the resulting interview:

PART 1 – From ‘nihilist punk’ to skinhead

PART 2 – Bands, politics & trouble

PART 3 – Today and tomorrow

Many thanks to Valentina G of Italian Skinheads for kindly letting us use her pictures.

Italia Skins is out on Hellnation Libri/Red Star Press now.