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Accidenti alla guerra! is a 1948 Italian comedy directed by Giorgio Simonelli. It can’t be listed as a “Holocaust film”, but there are very few Italian films dealing with this topic in the period between the end of the war and the 1960s, with few exceptions such as L’ebreo errante (G. Alessandrini, 1948) or Il monastero di Santa Chiara (I. Senese, 1949). Mentions of the Holocaust were almost absent in Neorealist films, and in the postwar years Fascist anti-semitism was a theme absolutely unpleasant not only to mass audience but to the Italian public discourse at large. That’s why this film is particularly interesting.

Starring the popular Italian comic actor Nino Taranto, Accidenti alla guerra! would be an anonymous slapstick film with a rather trivial plot, if it wasn’t for the fact that it takes place in a surreal “Institute of eugenics” during the Nazi occupation of Italy. Michele Coniglio (Nino Taranto), a coward and harmless musician, is mistaken for a Nazi officer and sent for a secret mission in a German Institute of eugenics. This little dark-haired Italian has to mate a gigantic German woman in order to create the “perfect soldier”. The Institute of Eugenics is indeed a sort of female college and health resort where beautiful girls (in Nazi-inspired swimsuit) practice sports.

Ten years after the Manifesto of Race (Manifesto della razza, July 1938) the film makes fun of Nazi ideology with no reference to the Italian complicity in carrying out the racist policies. Michele Coniglio is both the personification of the myth of the “Good Italian” and the stereotype of the Latin lover – evoked in the title of the French version, Harem Nazi.

HArem Nazi

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