In Rome, the Eternal City, lies the pride of Italian cinema, the Cinecittà.
Over the decades, the traditional film studio has experienced everything from the reign of fascists to the bombings of World War II and the new heyday of Italian cinema, and it is still going strong.
The foundation stone of the Cinecittà was laid in 1936 by the dictator Benito Mussolini himself.
Marco Spagnol’s documentary Mussolini’s Dream Factory (Cinecittà Babilonia, Italy 2017) describes well how relevant the film became to the fascist regime and how important it is for the later development of Italian cinema.
For the studio project, an area of 600,000 square meters was demolished from the Quadraro area further away from the city center, on which a new film studio was built.
The doors opened in 1937. The goals were ambitious: thirty feature films, twenty short films and five feature films were to be made each year.
During Mussolini’s reign by 1943, the studio produced 273 films.
The state’s commitment to film had to be understood: by the 1930s, the effectiveness of film as a means of propaganda had already been understood.
In times of tightening, it was important to provide citizens with entertainment that would take ideas away from reality and, on the other hand, strengthen the right kind of value base.
Censorship was not the strictest possible, but the self-censorship of the perpetrators was.
Il Duce herself liked films with appropriate social content, musicals, and films about foreign cultures.
Comedies also came to the dictator’s mind: the American comedian duo Ohukainen and Paksukainen were his favorites.
Of the crime films, Mussolini, on the other hand, did little to establish, nor did the mixing of races suggestive action on the big screen or overly intimate and long-lasting kiss rolls.
The state supported the film industry, which also produced plenty of stars.
The state-sponsored film industry naturally also gave birth to stars like Alida Valli and Doris Duranti.
They were harnessed as fascist PR mannequins.
The official images of the film stars were taken according to the instructions of the Ministry of Culture and distributed to the media.
The actresses also appealed to those in power.
Durant's lover, for example, was Alessandro Pavolini, the Italian Minister of Folk Culture.
Her boyfriends also included actress Andrea Checchi, whom Pavolin is rumored to have surprised once from Durant’s bed.
Checchi fled in disgust with the clothes in one hand, the other rising to the greeting of the fascists.
One of the most tragic examples of the close relationship between movie stars and fascists is the fate of Osvaldo Valentin and Luisa Ferida.
Known for their prominent social life and drug addiction, the actor couple was not particularly political, but moved in close circle with the fascists.
When the fascists were ousted from power, the duo were captured by partisans in Milan.
Ferida was pregnant, but this did not spare them: both were executed.
Mussolini's dream factory on Saturday at Teema & Femi at 20.01