The physical similarities between the Duce and the personality cult developed in the s around Mussolini and Maciste cannot be casual. As Maciste, Bartolomeo Pagano developed a signature gait, with eyes glaring with arms folded and head thrown back, later adopted by Mussolini see figure 1.
It is not clear who was the source of 14 Figure 1. The film now lost was remade in by Camillo Mastrocinque with Vittorio De Sica in the role of a blind gentleman who helps an unfortunate girl.
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Another Neapolitan, Elvira Notari, made approximately 60 films between and Notari was inspired by themes of the everyday life of the common people of Naples, especially of women, dealing with their passions and unhappiness. The film, which Bertini codirected with Gustavo Serena, has been praised for the manner in which the details of everyday life in Naples are presented in an unadorned fashion. When Michele is released and kills Federico, Assunta takes the blame for the murder, her tragedy complete.
The suicidal princess Sophonisba in Cabiria is emblematic of the influence of trends such as decadentism and European high art in Italian consciousness see figure 1. In contrast, Assunta Spina represents a more humble sphere in everyday Italian society. Assunta is identified with the bare streets of Naples often appearing under a portrait of the Madonna with child in her room. She is deceived and brutalized by the immature males in her life and responds with self-sacrificial fatalism.
After WWI the Italian film industry lost its position in world markets, a fate shared in countries like France, which also had vibrant prewar film industries. The political and economic situation was extremely tense with strikes, demonstrations, and the reduction of the value of middle-class savings between and When universal male suffrage was granted in Italy in and competition began for the new voters.
However the events that would bring Italy under Fascist totalitarian rule were already in motion. In the political uncertainty and civil unrest following WWI, Mussolini formed his own organization, the Fascist Party, which eventually aligned with the nationalists. The election saw gains for the Socialists and the Catholic Popolari.
Yet the two parties were unable to form a coalition. For the next election, Mussolini moved further to the political Right so that his platform had more in common with the policies of a conservative, moderate government—fiscal restraint, law and order and a nationalist foreign policy. Mussolini also made concessions to the Socialists by promising to form Fascist worker and farmer unions in order to position his Fascist Party for a dominant role in Italian politics.
In and the economic crisis that had followed the end of the war worsened and the continuing strikes and political unrest were not suppressed by the last moderate government. The Socialists feared Allied military intervention in the event of a Marxist revolution as had occurred in Russia in According to Fascist propaganda between and , Mussolini prevented a Bolshevik-style totalitarian revolution from taking place in Italy. In reality, Fascism brought the end of representative parliamentary government and the institution of Fascist totalitarian dictatorship.
Of course it is easy to dress up in philosophical and cultural terms what may have actually been a generational conflict between Fascist black shirt squads whose fight song Giovinezza Youth was directed against their aging liberal, Catholic, monarchist or Socialist fathers. But a series of rifts in the Socialist leadership led to the formation of the Italian Communist Party in by Antonio Gramsci — The division of the Italian Left into opposing factions rendered it incapable of profiting from the political and economic situation.
The middle and property-owning classes were fearful that these difficult economic and political conditions could lead to a revolution patterned on the Russian Bolshevik revolution. The situation was ripe for an opportunistic and decided leader like Mussolini to impose his will and his Fascist Party on the nation. A pivotal event was the decision by the Fascist leadership to march from their party congress in Naples to Rome in October Once in Rome, parading Fascists occupied the post office and other government buildings.
Support for the Fascists grew and in October of Mussolini was asked by the king to replace Luigi Facta as prime minister, perhaps unaware that he had just invited in a dictatorship that would last 21 years. An important first step in the Fascist promulgation of the totalitarian state was the Acerbo Bill, which guaranteed the party receiving most votes in an election two-thirds of the seats in parliament.
In , the Fascists attained a majority in parliament using a proportional representation law, which in various guises has continued sporadically to be a feature of the Italian parliamentary system. In a speech to parliament in , Mussolini accepted responsibility for Fascist violence, a moment that commentators have seen as the moment of the beginning of Fascist totalitarian dictatorship. After surviving the crisis in —25 involving the murder of Matteotti, Mussolini unhesitatingly asserted his power, reducing government to single-party rule and establishing the OVRA Opera Vigilanza e Repressione Antifascista , a secret police service charged with repressing anti-Fascists in the country and abroad.
Yet Mussolini was careful not to alienate the previous governing establishment, and to this end the Fascist Party slowly purged itself of its most violent black shirt, revolutionary elements. The Fascist system of Corporatism, which developed gradually and finally crystallized into the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations in , professed to be a system in which political representation was based not on residence, but on occupation whether in agriculture, transport, manufacturing, or self-employed professionals. Supposedly such a system would have eliminated class conflict.
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But in practice Corporatism allowed the Fascist Party to maintain rigid control over the unions eliminating Catholic and Socialist union groups , while favoring business interests. The Fascist years did bring changes for large segments of the population, particularly in demographic and economic terms. Despite the restrictions of the regime, the s evidenced a movement toward urban, modern life characterized by a growth in consumer culture and sports attitudes perhaps best reflected in the romantic comedies directed by Mario Bonnard or Mario Camerini. Sociologically these trends began with the movement toward the cities, an internal migration away from the countryside caused by demographic increases.
Mussolini did achieve some successes in controlling the economy during the Great Depression.difficultology.com/smartphone-location-galaxy-a50.php
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Fascism awarded a structural bureaucratic approach to economic and social wealth. It was the culture of clientilismo political patronage rather than the entrepreneurial verve that had characterized Italian economic development in the early part of the century by bourgeois industrialist families.
The world economic crisis of the s brought even more state control with the formation of large state-run industrial holding companies the IMI, the IRI, postwar ENI , and a national pension system the INPS created in to the point that by the late s Fascist Italy rivaled Soviet Russia for the level of state involvement in the economy. In response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the League of Nations instituted economic sanctions on trade with Italy. The regime policy of national economic self-sufficiency or autarky had already been evoked in attempts to resolve a grain shortage with the Battle of Grain in , even turning some city parks into grain fields.
The Battle of the Lira and the freezing of exchange rates for the Italian lira with major currencies such as the British Sterling at quota novanta ninety lire per British pound and the Battle of Gold were further autarkic attempts to stop the rienforce the national currency, the lira. There were even limits put on the amount of real estate that an Italian Jew could possess in his own country. When university professors were required to sign a loyalty oath and join the party, few gave up their chairs and refused.
Some intellectuals who rose to prominence in the postwar period have subsequently been embarrassed by the reappearance of sycophantic letters to Mussolini or by evidence of concrete ties to the regime, although many cultural figures including Luigi Pirandello, Giuseppe Ungaretti and Carlo Emilio Gadda were at times supporters of the regime during periods of the ventennio.
Once in power, Mussolini was careful not to alienate the upper class and the establishment. By the s, Fascist high functionaries aspired to noble titles to legitimize their position in society. The position eventually came a separate ministry, the Ministry of Culture and Propaganda Miniculpop , which oversaw an agreement reached with the United States for the limitation of Hollywood film exports to Italy to films per year.
Despite the desire of Fascist officials for aristocratic legitimacy, the regime did have an anti-aristocratic policy, at least linguistically. The campaign to require the second person plural voi as the common form of address instead of the feudal and feminine third person singular Lei was at its height in with complete substitution promulgated in This linguistic policy aimed to democratize Italian speech and create a Fascist culture that would not accept the feudal feminine forms of address.
Between and and after , Italian regional dialects were featured and even encouraged in films. The Italian practice of dubbing foreign films, rather than distributing them with subtitles began in shortly after the introduction of sound technology to film.
Italian intellectuals such as Elio Vittorini and Cesare Pavese cultivated an image of America as a source of anti-Fascist culture. There was a demographic campaign of tax benefits for large families.
In order to instill a sense of national identity and prestige in Italian popular culture, children and teenagers were enlisted in youth groups such as the Balilla, the figli e figlie della lupa sons and daughters of the she wolf , Avanguardisti for teenage males , and Giovani Italiane young Italian girls. With a boxing heavyweight world champion, Primo Carnera in , and two World Cup soccer victories in and , Mussolini trumpeted the return of the ancient virtue of the Italian people and commissioned stadiums and public sports culture.
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There was also interest in the record setting and technological culture. Minister Italo Balbo made a record setting flight by piloting a squadron to Chicago in Tazio Nuvolari — had a remarkable career as a race car driver in the increasingly popular formula 1 and Mille Miglia automobile rally races around the Italian peninsula. Sporting events were transmitted by the Italian state radio instituting a popular element in national culture. Equally important for his controversial views of the world and of man in this particularly critical time of Italian life is Luigi Pirandello — , a true innovator in world theatrical history.
Pirandello won the Nobel Prize for literature in His strong philosophical pessimism, by which human unhappiness is not so much a consequence of the social system, but of human nature, brought him to accept Fascism and dictatorship as the least possible evil in order to control the evil of human nature.
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Pirandello saw man as unable to break out of his tragic solitude or to communicate with others or even with himself. The only way of escape is either madness or a painful form of resignation. Another important writer was the Trieste-born author Italo Svevo — who dabbled in psychoanalysis and took English lessons from a young James Joyce, then living in the Adriatic port city of Trieste.
For many of these authors the Fascist period was a period of reflection and preparation for intellectual production after WWII. Other artists, like still life painter Giorgio Morandi — , who also enjoyed increased recognition after WWII, kept to their craft choosing subject matter which could not provoke the regime. During the Fascist period, it remained possible for authors to write and publish even if they were not open supporters of the regime, as long as their works did not contain explicit political attacks.
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