DEL CAPO (2011)
Written by Marco Bechis and Gigi Riva.
Edited by Iacopo Patierno and Marco Bechis
Assistant director: Filippo Ceredi and Giovannella Rendi.
Produced by Cinecittà Luce e Karta Film.
Principal cast: Riccardo B.
Previewed at the 2011 Turin Film Festival
Using astounding footage from the Luce archives (newsreels, but also true films) Il sorriso del capo/The Smile of the Leader shows how propaganda works, presents everyday life in its most revealing details, and describes a country's "education". Marco Bechis explores the feeling of consensus: he tells us where it originates, what tools are used to spread it, how it is opposed. The thread running through the film is a voice, enigmatic until the end, narrating in the first person what it is like to grow up under fascism.
Those who believe that consensus-building and the cult of the leader using the media is a recent invention, patented by Berlusconi, should watch Il sorriso del capo and think again.
Ilvo Diamanti, La Repubblica.
Il sorriso del capo does not deal with some third dimension, but is about us. About populism and its mechanisms, about the unopposed rise of a dictator and how images and technology (Mussolini understood this very early on) can sustain and embrace a project of domination.
Malcolm Pagani, Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Marco Bechis describes this relationship of mad, absolute love between the Italians and the Duce in order to describe all the other relationships, physical and immediate, between the cheering populace and their Leader.
Gian Antonio Stella, Corriere della Sera.
Here we see snippets of everyday events, which, as they follow each other at breakneck speed (almost like a 1920s Soviet film), ultimately reveal how a project of modernity can arouse the masses.
Wlodek Goldkorn, L'Espresso.