SanPa: Sins of the Savior
- TV Mini Series
Amidst a heroin crisis, Vincenzo Muccioli cared for the addicted, earning him fierce public devotion -- even as charges of violence began to mount.Amidst a heroin crisis, Vincenzo Muccioli cared for the addicted, earning him fierce public devotion -- even as charges of violence began to mount.Amidst a heroin crisis, Vincenzo Muccioli cared for the addicted, earning him fierce public devotion -- even as charges of violence began to mount.
In a nutshell, this is the story of Sanpa. The first part establishes the scene, and then it becomes pretty much a procedural thriller. If you are not Italian, if you don't have a special interest in contemporary Italiana, or if you weren't yet alive at the time, your appreciation of this documentary will depend on your ability to survive the first hour. If you do, your patience will be rewarded: it becomes more and more gripping as the story evolves. The denouement will keep you on the edge of your seat.
For the moral implications of the character and the story, the documentary casts no judgement, and neither will I, at least not for the main subject, the accusations of violence, whose resolution I won't reveal.
However, I can't suspend judgement for the extraordinary misogynistic scenes where Muccioli states, in various separate occasions, with the help of a smug, self-satisfied metaphor, that a woman cannot be raped if she doesn't want to. I understand that MeToo was still a long time away, that it was a conservative country with pockets of astonishing ignorance and machoism -- but for me it was too much, and I lost any empathy for the main character; from that moment on, regardless of the final outcome, for me he was the villain. The abundance of supporters that show on screen to defend him blindly and paint him as a martyr becomes very strident, to the point that one wishes for more time to go by and wash away the last relics of a very unsavoury Italian past.
In any case, the documentary is totally worth watching, quite illuminating in fact. At the very least, it will make you appreciate how the 80s were different from the present -- really, like the poet says, a foreign country.
- Jan 12, 2021