The Italian Condottieri in Fascist Propaganda Cinema
Keywords:medievalism, condottierismo, condottieres, fascism, Middle Ages, cinema
The retrieval of the past under a fascist ideological lens included not only the image of Romanity (the celebration of Ancient Rome) but also the representation of the Middle Ages. Medievalism represents one of the less familiar and less researched aspects of the cultural policies of Italian Fascism, part of the programmes of national regeneration of the regime, which promoted exhortation of virility, social order and the supremacy of national arts. This article interrogates the representation of the condottieres within Fascist ideology and questions the retrieval of the medieval heritage of the Italian Renaissance in a cinematic perspective. Mussolini’s regime recovered the Risorgimento, the imaginary of a powerful and bellicose country. The identification between Mussolini and the condottieri, propagated through various media, was particularly effective. Once the Fascist regime fell, the heroic and ideological outlook of Fascism was completely reversed in favour of a narrative that exalts pacifism and anti-militarism.