Friend or Foe? Representations of WWI in Italian Fascist Cinema
Keywords:Italian Cinema, First World War, Italian Fascist Regime, Austro-Italian Relations
AbstractThe present essay investigates the representation of the First World War in Italian fascist cinema by analyzing some of the major films about the war made during the Fascist regime and, notably, Marco Elter’s Le scarpe al sole (1935), Giovacchino Forzano’s 13 uomini e un cannone (1936) and Oreste Biancoli’s Piccolo alpino (1940). The films will be examined from an original and specific angle, devoting special attention to their portrayal of the Austrian enemy. Little consideration has been paid so far in scholarly research to this aspect. The essay will specifically address the question, investigating the changing representation of WWI and, particularly, the metamorphosis of Austria from foe to friend in Italian cinema in the course of the twenty years of Fascist regime. In doing so, the essay will place the above films against the background of the Fascist regime’s foreign policy, with special regard to the Italian-Austrian politics of friendship during the 1930s, followed at the end of the decade by Italy’s alliance with Nazi-Germany and the birth of the Rome-Berlin axis.
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