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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Myths of the Resistance and Bernardo Bertolucci’s La strategia del ragno (The Spider’s Strategy, 1970)

  • Author(s): Gavin, Dominic
  • et al.

In this article I consider Bernardo Bertolucci's 1970 film, The Spider's Strategy in the context of debates over the antifascist paradigm in 1970s Italy. Although such debates are referenced in the relevant critical literature, this context has not to my knowledge supplied a focus point for sustained consideration of the ways in which the film reprises elements of the criticism of so-called 'state antifascism' in the 1960s and 1970s. Developing these issues allows me to reflect on the way in which Bertolucci's film anticipates later academic interest in the construction of public memory. Key features of the film in this respect are the treatment of the figure of the antifascist martyr and the monument to the 'fallen' heroes. Making use of the work of scholars such as Cristina Cenci, Alessandro Portelli and James Young, I attempt to apply some of the insights of recent work on history and memory to the 1970 film.

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