Pity it is condemned not to be seen by most, not in theaters nor later...
I was brought to see this movie by a friend, not knowing of the extraordinary feedback it got from audience and most critics at Venice.
What a pleasant surprise! For someone who refers to herself as "just a jester" as Ms. Guzzanti does, in a bout of understatement, she does pull together a serious and impartial picture of the dismal state of freedom of speech in Italy, how downtrodden it has been by few who hold the power and how (too) many never felt obliged to stand up and denounce the sorry state of things. She is one of the few who did, and paid by being ostracized from possibly all main TV channels, making a row of enemies for herself even among those whose political stance should be closer to hers, or those who should have the moral integrity to stand by her.
Since those enemies are very well aware of the potential of this "Italian Farenheit 9/11" as some movie critic has aptly labelled the movie, it is no surprise that there are only 55 screens showing it in Italy - as per the information on the official movie site - and definitely not the ones in the "mainstream" distribution, mainly owned or influenced by those people and companies whose interests are exposed
as was to be demonstrated. Trailers are also conspicuously absent
from all usual TV spots for movies, and I am yet to see a single interview to people involved in Viva Zapatero - a further confirmation.
There is a strong autobiographical streak in the movie, recounting the sometimes grotesque events that led to her defenestration from RAI (public Italian) television and the clumsy, embarrassed, and unfortunately, ignorant justifications brought forward by the individuals involved. This storytelling choice could not have been avoided, though I would have preferred a wider series of cases which would have underlined the systematic quenching of any dissenting voices, both satirical and from independent media at large, which is taking place in Italy, and the equally systematic lack of response from the "opposition" which seems to willingly favour a less free system that they may have the fortune to be handed control over, after elections next year.
This movie is a funny, stimulating and valiant attempt at bringing a fundamental change in a country's basic political debate, open up eyes and provide people with a further tool to analyse the causes of the paralysis of its political system. However, I am afraid, it will not be seen by all those in Italy who would most greatly benefit from watching, neither in theaters, nor in its further incarnations, nor very much understood in its deep societal impact abroad.
Maybe Ms. Guzzanti would be best served by distributing it on the net for free, and by having her producers / distributors follow Michael Moore's lead by not charging fees for public free viewings. Low circulation of this satirical documentary would serve best only the interests of those Ms. Guzzanti is fighting against.
Final note: on the morning after I saw Viva Zapatero, Time Magazine named Beppe Grillo, one of the people whose story is very similar to Ms. Guzzanti's, who also appears in the movie, one of the "European Heroes 2005." Guzzanti is a strong candidate for 2006.
That was my comment, safely composed from Munich, under pseudonym...
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