The long journey through fascism, the readaptation to the whole of society does not end, a title that Ruggiero Zangrande reserved only for the intelligentsia. We did not get out of it, and we will not get out of it. We always return to fascism: now as an absolute evil of the twentieth century, now as an autobiography of a nation, now as a distinction between ‘against’ (the good) and ‘the position’ (the damned), out of eternity Umberto Eco has formulated the theory of fascism since 1995 of fascism as a ‘state of mind’ Corrado Ugias identified it in República a few days ago. Fascism is a horror and an obsession. More alive than ever.
It was logical to think that all this would come back to us, which is more troublesome than ever, given elections, with a right-wing candidate, at least according to opinion polls, to rule the country. Especially as October 2022 is approaching, and on the centenary of the march in Rome, the long shadow of the twenty-year period is casting a great deal on the media and public debates.
And so the fascist alarm bells sounded in the election campaign, and by coincidence – the festival program had already been decided before the elections were called – it was also shown at the Venice Film Festival.
Yesterday passed an important documentary on the Lido, March in Rome, by the Irishman Mark Cousins, written with director Tony Sacucci and screenwriter Tommaso Renzoni, and it will go to our cinemas the Thursday before the elections, after the festival also visited Toronto. A reconstruction of Mussolini’s career from 1922 that draws inspiration from a reinterpretation of the historical feature film A Noi! By Umberto Paradisi (the official document of the fascist party in the days that brought Benito Mussolini to power), Cousins’ work is an accusation against the world, the fascist, “made up of toxic masculinity, national hysteria and fake news” and against a duchy that influenced many authoritarian regimes in the twentieth century as well in the new century. The first sequence is dedicated to Donald Trump, who is asked by a reporter why he retweeted a sentence from Mussolini (the answer: “It was a good sentence. But did you know I had 14 million followers?”) and the semi-final unfolds in a montage of contemporary, crowd-sourcing politicians: Marine Le Pen and Bolsonaro Orban, Putin, and of course, Giorgia Meloni. This is followed by a daring juxtaposition between the images of the March 22, the attack on Capitol Hill and the Russian bombing of Mariupol.
Let’s get it wrong. The documentary March on Rome is one-sided political, still ideological under ambitious linguistic research, but well done (except for Alba Rohrwacher’s point of view, in the fictional story, a fascist woman is increasingly disillusioned with the role taken by the regime, which is over. Even Sing for four minutes (Bella Chow). Mark Cousins’ mask unveiling of the majestic propaganda machine of fascism and all tyranny, beginning with the use of cinema, is exemplary: the ambiguous inner connection between images and reality. Just as it is smart to choose to stop a step before abolishing the culture: at one point, in a news report about the euro and the lecherous statues of the regime, he wonders whether it makes sense today to demolish the Mussolini Obelisk, or to remove the Mussolini Obelisk. Friezes of fascists on palaces, and the answer is no, “although perhaps they should be taken to museums”). The problem lies in the very basic thesis: between Mussolini’s fascism and right-wing fascism today, there are only differences in the interface, but a continuity of truth. As the director replied to reporters: “Today there are more right-wing governments than I can remember in my entire life, and I am 56 years old. Hungary, Poland, India, Brazil, America Trump and now in Italy the pendulum swings to the right. This is a very serious case ».
And slippery too. The documentary, which opened the Venice exhibition “Days of Authors”, which was received in the hall by the President of the Biennale Roberto Secutto, and presented by journalist Andrea Purgatori, did not go unnoticed. Even an hour after the show, the deputy of the Brothers of Italy Federico Moliconi already expressed his disappointment: “We consider it absurd to include the portraits of Giorgia Meloni in the documentary March on Rome. We respect the independence of the festival, but we believe that such images alter equal opportunities in the electoral campaign.” He announces a question to Minister Franceschini. Thus, giving life to the bizarre short-circuit that the documentary on manipulation of consent ends up being an inappropriate tool for electoral propaganda.
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