Toh, at the Venice Film Festival they march against Meloni

Toh, at the Venice Film Festival they march against Meloni

The long journey through fascism, re-adapting to the whole society a title that Ruggero Zangrandi reserved only for intellectuals, never ends. We have not come out of it, we will not come out of it. We always return to fascism: now as an absolute evil of the twentieth century, now as an autobiography of the nation, now as a distinction between the “anti” (the righteous) and the “post” (the cursed), from the eternal fascism theorized by Umberto Eco as early as 1995 to fascism as a “state of mind” identified by Corrado Augias in Repubblica days ago. Fascism as a horror and as an obsession. More alive than ever.

It was logical to think that all this would fall back on us, more disturbing than ever, under elections, with a right-right candidate, at least according to the polls, to govern the country. Especially since October 2022 is just around the corner, and in the centenary of the march on Rome, the long shadow of the twenty-year period falls heavily on the media and on public discussion.

And so the fascism alarm overflows in the electoral campaign, and by coincidence (s) fortuitous – the program of the festival was already decided before the elections were called – it is also beached at the Venice Film Festival.

Yesterday an important documentary passed at the Lido, March on Rome, by Irishman Mark Cousins, written together with director Tony Saccucci and screenwriter Tommaso Renzoni, and which will go to our cinemas on the Thursday before the elections, after a visit also to the festival of Toronto. Reconstruction of Mussolini’s march from 1922 which takes its cue from the reinterpretation of the historic feature film A Noi! by Umberto Paradisi (official document of the Fascist Party on the days that brought Benito Mussolini to power), Cousins’ work is an accusation against a world, the fascist one, “made up of toxic masculinity, national hysteria and fake news” and against a ducism that has influenced many authoritarianisms of the twentieth century and also of the new century. The first sequence is dedicated to Donald Trump, to whom a journalist asks why he retweeted a sentence from Mussolini (answer: “It was a good sentence. But do you know that I have 14 million followers?”) And the sub-final unfolds in a montage of contemporary politicians who stir up the crowds: Marine Le Pen, Bolsonaro, Orbán, Putin and of course Giorgia Meloni. A bold juxtaposition follows between images of the march of ’22, the assault on Capitol Hill and the Russian bombing of Mariupol ‘.

Let’s go wrong. The documentary March on Rome is politically one-sided, which remains ideological under the ambitious philological research, but well done (net of the counterpoint of Alba Rohrwacher, in the fiction a fascist woman increasingly disappointed by the turn taken by the Regime, who ends up singing for four minutes Bella ciao). The unmasking that Mark Cousins ​​makes of the imposing propaganda machine of fascism, and of every tyranny, starting from the use of cinema, is perfect: the internal ambiguous relationship between images and truth. Just as it is intelligent to choose to stop a step before cancel culture: at a certain point, in a roundup on Eur and the machista statues of the Regime, he wonders if today it would make sense to demolish Mussolini’s Obelisk, or to remove the friezes fascists on the palaces, and the answer is no, “although perhaps they should be taken to museums”). The problem is the basic thesis, so tranchant: between the fascism of Mussolini and that of the right-wing of today there are only façade differences, but a continuity of fact. As the director replied to reporters: “Today there are many more right-wing governments than I remember in my entire life, and I am 56 years old. Hungary, Poland, India, Brazil, Trump’s America and now also in Italy the pendulum is swinging to the right. This is a very dangerous condition ».

And slippery too. The documentary, which opened the Venice Exhibition “Days of the Authors”, greeted in the room by the president of the Biennale Roberto Cicuto, and presented by the journalist Andrea Purgatori, did not go unnoticed. Not even an hour after the screening, the Brothers of Italy deputy Federico Mollicone had already expressed his disappointment: «We consider it absurd to include images of Giorgia Meloni in the documentary March on Rome. We respect the autonomy and independence of the festival, but we believe that such images alter the level playing field of the electoral campaign ». And he announces a question to Minister Franceschini. Thus giving life to the curious short circuit for which a docufilm on the manipulation of consent ends up turning into an improper instrument of electoral propaganda.


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