Review: I Am Back
by Camillo De Marco
- Mussolini is brought back to life in the present day and mistaken for an impersonator in Luca Miniero's comedy, produced by Indiana with Vision Distribution
I Am Back [+see also:
film profile] by Luca Miniero, based on the German book and film Look Who's Back [+see also:
film profile] (in which Hitler was the protagonist), imagines a world in which Benito Mussolini comes back to life and is mistaken for an impersonator. Mysteriously thrown back to earth through a "Magic Door" in Piazza Vittorio in Rome, il Duce (Massimo Popolizio) is approached by two young boys, one of African origin and the other Asian: "We are all Italians" they confide in the astonished dictator, while a girl later declares that when she grows up she’s going to be a model supported by her husband. The resurrected Mussolini is accidentally discovered by a young freelance documentary filmmaker, Andrea Canaletti (Frank Matano), who mistakes him for a brilliant impersonator and, noticing the hold he has over people, decides to take him on a nationwide tour to be broadcast on TV.
Moving with ease between gay couples, globalisation, domesticated neo-fascists, social media and the selfies of his ever more numerous fans, Mussolini unleashes his manipulative power to revive a new cult of personality and recreate the fascist "machine of consent." "You’re more ignorant than when I left you," Mussolini says ironically, finding fertile ground in ambitious and idiotic TV directors (Stefania Rocca and Gioele Dix), who believe they can exploit him to win over a new audience, as well as in the common people who approve. The only people who understand that this man is the real dictator wishing to regain power is an old woman who escaped the raid of the ghetto of Rome in October 1943, and Andrea Canaletti who tries to stop his rise to power on TV in a scene that’s somewhere between Network bySidney Lumet and a reality TV show.
The director, Luca Miniero, along with co-writer Nicola Guaglianone, shows us an agreable side to the dictator (writing text messages for Andrea's girlfriend) and his more human side (remembering his beloved Claretta Petacci) before flipping that perspective on its head to reveal the "monster." The old regime’s strategy of manipulating our consciences, the director suggests, is the same as that of the new "videocracy." But what makes it an even more uncomfortable viewing experience, giving the audience the chills in this satirical comedy produced by Indiana with Vision Distribution, are the candid interviews, in which reality takes over." I didn’t create fascism, I took it from the unconscious of the Italian people," revealed Mussolini in his last interview, quoted in the film.
I Am Back will be released in Italian cinemas on Thursday 1 February, distributed by Vision Distribution.
(Translated from Italian)
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