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New film imagines Mussolini’s return as Italian election echoes the past

ROME (AP) — A new film that imagines dictator Benito Mussolini returning to current Italy has opened in the middle of an election campaign that has been dominated by populist and neo-fascist sentiments.

“I’m Back” is an Italian spin on the 2015 German film “Look Who’s Back,” which hypothesized a modern-day resurrection of Adolf Hitler. The Italian film opened Thursday.

The comedy has gotten near-unanimous rave reviews from Italian critics, who applauded its implicit warning that the Italy of 2018 is susceptible to the messages that brought Mussolini to power a century ago.

Director Luca Miniero says the movie “touches the belly of the country.”

Miniero says that while he thinks a Mussolini-style fascist dictatorship coming into power is remote, “I see the return of his populism. In fact, we’re already there.”

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