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'Fascists on Mars' Biting Satirical Brilliance
Corrado Guzzanti's surreal cinematic masterpiece set in Mussolini's Italy
Verdiana Amorosi (verdiana)     Print Article 
Published 2007-02-10 10:44 (KST)   
Corrado Guzzanti, 42, is one of the most famous comic authors and actors in Italy. He began his career writing for his sister and fellow satirist Sabina Guzzanti, before making his debut on Italian television in the 1980s.

He has become famous for satirical character creations such as Rokko Smiterson, a director who spoke about the links between Italian politics and the Mafia, Vulvia the brainless television presenter, and Quelo, an unsuccessful pretend preacher.

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Guzzanti has also satirized the worst aspects of real-life Italian politicians, including Romano Prodi, Giulio Tremonti and Walter Veltroni.

After an absence of four years from Italian television screens, he has recently returned with a satirical cinematic masterpiece.

"Fascisti su Marte" (Fascists on Mars) is likely to be remembered in Italian film history for the originality of its fantasy-science fiction comedic plot.

The film is set in 1939 when Italy was ruled by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. It tells the story of five Fascists, led by Hierarch Barbagli (played by Guzzanti) who undertake the conquest of Mars, the "red, Communist and treacherous planet." At this time the Fascists and the Communists were enemies.

While the main European powers are concentrating on who controls the continent, plucky Italy has set its sight on higher goals, and I mean vertically!

The five Fascists disembark on Mars and try to conquer it, but they find many difficulties. There is no food or water, but Mussolini's bronze sculpture, which accompanies them, is sustenance enough on this terrible trip to the red planet.

The Fascist faith is the only consolation for the five characters and Barbagli's ridiculous behavior makes the film very comic.

The film is not simply a work of satirical humor, it is also deeply critical of the rhetoric of Fascist Italy and the hypocritical behavior of the Catholic church during this dark period.

Guzzanti is center, wearing the hat.
©2007 Fandango/Kipli Entertainment

The film presents itself as a historical documentary. It is narrated by an off camera voice, as in the news reels of the time. It surprises audiences with the inventive use of language. Guzzanti has invented neologisms and unconvincing metaphors, tapping into the rhetoric of Fascism.

The feature film is a deep study of the communication techniques of that period, drawing on the old Fascist newsreels. In this work, Corrado Guzzanti wanted to draw parallels between the political language of the past and the state of current politicians' debate in Italy.

In other words: topics change, but the way the politicians express their ideas is always the same.

"Fascists on Mars" is already a true cult classic.

Guzzanti is a true point of reference for thousands of people in Italy, his Web site at www.corradoguzzanti.it has received almost 600,000 visits and its forum section is a place to share everyday life.
©2007 OhmyNews
Verdiana Amorosi is a student at Università della Tuscia di Viterbo, near Rome. Her interests include journalism and she has just finished her graduation thesis about online newspapers.
Other articles by reporter Verdiana Amorosi

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