Umberto Paradisi

Prod.: Sindacato Cinematografico Italiano – DCP. D.: 22’. Col. (from a tinted nitrate print)

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Judging by the film titles, the aim of this double-bill might seem obvious: to document, through two films made immediately after the events they depict, the journey from glorification to vilification of Mussolini and the Fascist regime. However, the matter is more complex than that. There is little doubt about A Noi! In this official film of the Fascist Party, Umberto Paradisi knits footage shot by various people together with his recent documentary A Napoli coi fascisti d’Italia in order to narrate the undisputed triumph of the March on Rome. Here it seems as if every Italian worthy of the name descended on the capital, using whatever means were available to them (by train, on foot, in the back of trucks); every shot is a seething mass of cheering crowds, as if to dispel the slightest hint of emptiness, which could call into question the unanimity of consensus. The nitrate positive that we obtained is incomplete, but in a rather unusual way: in comparison with the complete film, it appears to have been deliberately cut here and there, as if someone wanted to present a more lively and manageable version without overlooking the essential.
Accuso Mussolini! (once again there is a peremptory exclamation point) masquerades as the voice of an enraged workman. In the first part, its derision is structured around a trawl through the newsreels of the Istitituo Luce; then it goes into greater detail about the events in Milan and rejoices at Piazzale Loreto. After a screening at the Milan Odeon in August of 1945, various newspapers reacted with disdain, describing the film as pure Fascist-style propaganda, an insult to all Italians, which it depicts first as enthusiastic supporters of a tyrant and then as bloodthirsty beasts. The owner of SEFI Film in Lugano was revealed to be an Italian, Raffaello Mazzocchi, who had enjoyed success distributing “bad films” from the Fascist period. Meanwhile the National Association of Partisans appealed directly to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, having discovered that plans were underway to export the film to other countries, which risked harming the nation’s reputation abroad. The authorities set to work. However, after a lengthy series of events which can barely be sketched out here, by December 1945 they had to admit their relative powerlessness: they could block the film in Italy but, as far as international distribution was concerned, their hands were tied. We do not know whether the film circulated abroad. Documents held by the censorship commission still bear the label: “banned”.

Andrea Meneghelli

Copy From

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna with the support of Ministero della Cultura at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, from a positive 35mm nitrate print (385 m of the 1318 m indicated on the censorship certificate) deposited by Giorgio Ghedini