Fascism and the Desire for Images
Daniele Dottorini

This essay reflects on the theme of the “potency”of the image using two cinematographic examples: Vincere (M. Bellocchio, 2009) and Salò (P.P. Pasolini, 1975). The focus is on the recognition of the dynamic power of the image suspended between the desire of an inner image, private and personal, and an equally intense desire for an embracing image, one that is totalizing and superhuman. Vincere and Salò are two profoundly theoretical symbolic films. They are considered such because they both deal with a complex dimension of history, meaning the profound relationship between power and the desire for images. Another reason is that the two films focus on the dimension of power and the potency of the political dimension. The one that arises forcefully within a specific historical period (Fascism), which emerges and can only emerge as an excess of the desire to have, to become and to own images. It can also be considered as an opposite but complementary excess, that is, the impossibility of imagination and the impossibility of producing desiring images. Through this contrast this essay identifies the dynamics through which further analysis may be possible. An analysis which may be able to rewrite the history of cinematographic images in Italy, from Fascist to contemporary cinema, in relation to political power and the desire for power.