In February 2018 a satirical film released in Italy entitled I’m Back used an actor dressed as Benito Mussolini to portray the return of the dictator to contemporary Italy. In some ‘documentary’ scenes the imitation Mussolini rides between Rome’s ancient and modern monuments on the back of a Vespa. Apparently unwitting bystanders greet him with mixed responses. Some take selfies with him, others give the Fascist salute, still others protest, but there are also those who, after ten minutes, forget that they are talking to an actor and believe they are actually speaking with Il Duce. When asked why the public reacts the way it does, the film’s screenwriter, Nicola Guaglianone, has said that ‘Mussolini is inside each one of us’. Alessandra Mussolini, current member of the Italian and European parliaments, and Benito Mussolini’s granddaughter, applauded the film. In contrast, it was criticised by the Left for portraying Mussolini with sympathy while downplaying the ideology of fascism. The film reflects the continuing currency of the idea of a ‘strong leader’ with simple solutions to complex problems.
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