I film peplum e la fine del mito fascista della romanità


  • Andrea Avalli Università degli Studi di Genova/Université de Picardie "Jules Verne"




Reception, Cinema, Ancient Rome, Fascism, Racism, Catholicism, Memory


As both classicist and historians have shown, the myth of romanità was one of the key elements at the core of Italian nationalism and Fascist ideology, that in 1937 found its most famous cinematographic expression through the film Scipione l’Africano. After the fall of the Fascist regime and the end of the war, and during the 1950s, new peplum films produced new Italian representations of ancient Rome. These new movies reversed the old, Fascist exaltation of Roman imperial power into a Catholic condemnation of it as a violent and anti-Christian dictatorship. An historical analysis of post-war Italian films on ancient Rome can therefore enlighten the change in perception of totalitarianism and national identity in Italian society. It can moreover study the post-Fascist transition by showing changes and continuities in culture after the fall of the regime. Among the Fascist continuities, the analysis of post-war historical films clearly shows the persistence of a colonialist, racially white national identity as well as a Catholic and Italian self-representation as peaceful and innocent victims of Fascism. The condemnation of totalitarianism coexists therefore with the lack of a public admission of guilt in regards of Fascism, colonialism, racism and war.