Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini

Source: La Repubblica
A documentary about Italy's ruthless dictator Benito Mussolini will show unseen images of the tyrant's corpse .

Presented at Turin Film Festival, The Body of the Duce, by horror film-maker Fabrizio Laurenti, puts together 50-minutes of footage of gory pictures of Mussolini's body.

From Piazzale Loreto in 1945, where Mussolini's corpse was displayed to an angry crowd and hanged from a lamppost, the documentary shows the morbid link between the dead dictator's body as a representation of the power and the downtrodden Italian people, who were finally able to retaliate and abuse him after 20 years of absolute power.

An neo-fascist group seized Mussolini's body after Piazzale Loreto and it was discovered a year later by Milan police. Thed new film continues from this point, showing shots of Mussolini's corpse in decomposition and partly mummified. The images were hidden in a top-secret folder in the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs for over half a century. "Even in death, Mussolini remains a cumbersome figure because too many Italians adored him when he was still alive," says the voiceover.

The movie is inspired by a book of the same title by the historian Sergio Luzzatto. In the book, the obsession with physical appearance, a key feature of the Fascism, was transformed after the fall of Mussolini into a fascination with his dead body.

The Gaddafi Connection

The footage from Piazzale Loreto, showing an angry crowd spitting, shooting, kicking and insulting Mussolini's body, has a contemporary resonance with videos and images of the last moments of Gaddafi's life last month, who was beaten, abused and killed by his captors - all caught on shaky mobile phone film clips.

The trailer of "The body of the Duce" shows one woman pushing through the crowd and spitting on Mussolini's body in Piazzale Loreto, Milan. "The crowd rises like a tide," the voiceover explains, "and partisans struggle to keep it back."

It was in that moment that someone decided to hang the bodies of Mussolini and Petacci from a lamp-post, to save them from being torn apart by the angry Italians.

Mussolini and his his mistress Clara Petacci was captured near Lake Como as he was trying to escape to Switzerland on 27 April 1945. They were summarily executed the day after, along with ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. On 29 April 1945, the bodies of Mussolini, Petacci and other executed Facists were loaded on a van and dumped on the old Piazzale Loreto.