, 113min, OmdU
The film is set in Sicily between 1933 and the first years after World War II and courageously depicts the Italian people’s prevailing attitudes towards Fascism. The protagonist, Aldo, a municipal employee in Sicily, is forced by the podestà to join the fascist party. He becomes a card-carrying Fascist with the approval of his wife Rosina and his daughter. His son Giovanni is a royal army soldier who takes part in all the wars declared by Mussolini. When the allies land in Sicily and the armistice is proclaimed, Piscitello loses first his son Giovanni, who is murdered by two retreating Germans, and then his job. In this story, the end of the regime does not coincide with a renewal of the political class: with the Allied forces in control, the old podestà becomes mayor and fires Piscitello because of his documented status in the Party as a Squadrista.
Even such a brief summary reveals why ANNI DIFFICILI has aroused strong opposition on all sides of the political spectrum. The portrayal of Italians that the film conveys does not spare anyone and was quite new in the history of Italian national cinema. In addition to showing that only the weakest paid the highest price when fascism fell, it parodies Sicilian anti-fascism and has no misgivings about the church’s complicity with the regime. Zampa’s comedy realistically as well as courageously depicts the normal behavior of Italians regarding the regime. The film develops this “commedia di costume” as a cruel mirror of Italian society since 1933. (Maria Letizia Bellocchio)