Mussolini still haunts Italy

The story begins right in the center of Rome, in the public garden of Piazza Vittorio, on a warm spring afternoon, during that brief moment of the year when the sun is already warming the bodies but not yet plunging them into torpor. A group of kids of all origins are playing football near a curious monument called the « Porta Alchemica » (« Alchemical Gate »), when their game is interrupted by the appearance of a man in uniform, literally fallen from the sky in a cloud of dust.

Benito Mussolini, because it is about him, is back. No, he did not die on April 28, 1945 on the shores of Lake Como, executed by Italian partisans, and his corpse was not exhibited hanging upside down in Milan, in Piazzale Loreto, in front of a crowd cheering. Inexplicably, the Duce was able to save himself, and he teleported to « land » seventy-five years later, in a Rome at the beginning of the 21st century.e century which is completely foreign to it.  » Where am I ? In Addis Ababa? », he mumbles between his teeth, after coming to his senses, strolling through the streets of this multi-ethnic neighborhood. A documentary filmmaker who was passing by, believing he had come across a slightly on-trend comedian, decides to follow him camera in hand, and here are the two men leaving for a tour of the country in which the deposed dictator will discover that he has no not lost its aura, before seeking to regain the front of the media scene, the first step towards its reconquest of power.

Let the reader be reassured, the author of these lines did not take a sunburn on the head. He just limited himself to summarizing the first minutes of a fiction film, Sono Tornato (« I’m back »), by Luca Miniero, released in theaters in Italy from 1er February 2018. Directly inspired by a German book imagining an equally unexplained return of Adolf Hitler (Er ist wieder da, by Timur Vermes, Eichborn Verlag, 2012), also adapted for the cinemaSono Tornato came out when Italy was – already – in the middle of an electoral campaign, and it will no doubt not leave a lasting mark in the history of cinema. Apart from Massimo Popolizio’s impressive performance as the Duce, there’s not much to salvage from this clumsy one hour and forty minute work, at least from a formal point of view. No doubt, moreover, the objective was not there. Sono Tornato is, above all, entertainment, which will only cause cinephiles to sigh in boredom.

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