The Battle of Oranges (La Battaglia delle Arance) is a unique, 3-day event that is part of a yearly historic carnival taking place in Ivrea, a northern Italian town located at the foothills of the Alps.

The battle celebrates the 12th century revolt of the people against a local tyrant in an unusual, symbolic way. For three days, the main squares in the old town become a temporary battleground for thousands of orange throwers representing two opposing sides: the Aranceri (orange throwers), divided into nine different teams and representing the townspeople, battle against 50 horse-driven carriages, each carrying 10 Aranceri Carri da Getto (orange throwers on carts), which represent the tyrant’s guards. Whilst these guards wear protective masks and padding, the Aranceri wear no protection whatsoever.

The origins of the orange throwing are unclear, although there is evidence that in the 19th century, people were known to throw sweets and fruit (including exotic Sicilian oranges) from the balconies as offerings to the people parading in the carnival. This practice quickly degenerated throughout the years, resulting in random orange fights during the last three days of the carnival and was even banned at one point in the late 1800s. It was only after the Second World War, however, that the first teams were created, originally from factory workers’ neighbourhoods. At this point, the battle became regulated and structured.

In modern times, the people of Ivrea and the surrounding villages have developed a deep and multi-generational connection with the Battle of Oranges. Its meaning has developed well beyond its historical roots and has become an identity for the town and the people. It is a moment every year when giving a black eye to your best friend is normal, when community comes closer and when those who live abroad come back home. It is melange of chants, adrenaline, mulled wine and the smell of orange pulp and horse manure.


Aranceri: Battle of the Oranges follows three orange throwers as they prepare for, take part in, and reflect upon Ivrea’s historic carnival. The film explores the characters’ motivations for participating in the event, while giving a brief glimpse into the the three days of frenetic battle. It soon becomes apparent that the event serves merely as a backdrop for more universal underlying themes such as friendship, loss, equality and love.


The cast is made up of three people who live in and around the Ivrea area. They reflect different ages and genders and are active in key roles in the carnival/battle. The protagonists were chosen for their unique personalities and stories, but are unified by their love of the Battle of the Oranges.



Billie Ekman


Phone: + 46 705 48 70 70

Office Himmelriket: Kocksgatan 17, 116 24 Stockholm, Sweden


Genre: Documentary  Filmed: February 2015  Length: 23 min  Language: Italian with English subtitles  Project Status: Film completed, submitting to filmfestivals and looking for buyers

Director: Erasmus Talbot  Producer: Billie Ekman  D.O.P & Editor: Clément Morin  Camera: Joseph Johnson  Assistant Director: Alessandro Icardi  Locationmanager/ Fixer: Virgilio Ardy  Original scoreErasmus Talbot & Karl Heortweard  Mixing & sound design: Tobias Hylander  Colourist: Henrik Hansen 

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