Pietro, Ebe, Pasquale, Vincenzo, Gianni are five people who are very different from each other, from strong identities to intense involvement with their jobs. But that's not all: each of them volunteers a good part of his free time for socially helpful activities. Pietro works with children, Ebe as a unionist, Pasquale and Vincenzo are members of organizations lending a hand to the Third World, and Gianni is involved in projects for defending the environment.
To all appearances, other than living of having lived in Turin, they haven't got anything in common. Except that twenty years ago, these five Personages shared one of the most important and contradictory chapters in Italian post-war history.
With the March of the 40,000 in autumn 1980, after a dramatic 35-day strike, the controversy that had pitted FIAT against the Italian company's workers' union came to an end. After ten years of struggle, begun in the sweltering autumn of 1969, the strongest and most combative working class in Europe was defeated by the refined, repressive strategies of the Turin agency and its heavy internal Divisions. But a few people at the time could also sense the beginning of a general transformation of capitalism in the world: the end of Fordism and the beginning of globalization.
Passing from the present to the past, and finally to the future of these five people, the film tries to recount these years of transformation, but also to investigate the questions that the protagonists propound with their own lives: Is every hypothesis for a collective transformation of society finished? How can one "change" a world that is tending more and more to standardization? Does it make any sense to "be an example"?