On a new episode of the Film at Lincoln Center podcast, we’re excited to present a conversation with documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins, who recently joined us for a screening of his latest feature, The March on Rome.

Filmmaking’s role in influencing the political landscape and popular consciousness has been a well-established subject in cinema, but few works have performed as deep an investigation into it as the latest from Mark Cousins, The March on Rome. Using a propagandistic documentary depicting Mussolini and the Black Shirts’ seizure of power as his point of departure, Cousins captivatingly delves into the film’s cinematographic particulars and political context to demonstrate that the rise of fascism in the first half of the 20th century had little to do with its supposed popularity—rather, its ascent was just another spellbinding illusion on the silver screen, albeit one with tragic real-life consequences. Alba Rohrwacher appears periodically in staged interludes as a woman whose initial enthusiasm for fascism tarnishes when she witnesses firsthand the fallout from Mussolini’s rise.

Cousins spoke with FLC Programmer Dan Sullivan following our recent screening of the film. Watch and listen below.