Videocracy (2009) Poster


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Nothing new for Italians...
SinkAndDrown17 September 2009
Well, I must say I expected more from this movie after having seen the trailer. The documentary is quite slow for all the 85 minutes, and lacks explanations: why most Italians base their information access on television? how did the private TV channels owned by Berlusconi became so big? We just see the beginning 30 years ago, and the situation now... how was the evolution in between? Basically the movie gives just 2 examples to explain the result of the cultural change gained in the last years by Italian television: first the simple guy working in a factory who drams of getting on television; second is Fabrizio Corona, who is basically an asshole paparazzi gangster, exploiting famous people to own money and become famous himself. In my opinion this movie puts some light on the situation Italy is in, avoiding going deeper to the roots. It would have been easy to tell, show, explain and discuss much more... that's why it's just 5/10.
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Overrated audience?
Hannes Olsson19 February 2010
This documentary sets a lot of demand on the audience. The number one complaint I hear is that the documentary lacks in information about the different subjects encountered throughout the film. This complaint, however, might just be a bit of an empty can rattle since the idea of the film obviously isn't, as opposed to a say Michael Moore-style documentary, to give a clear black/white picture of a scenario. Instead, Gandini tends to leave his videocratic exclamations hanging freely letting a steady stream of question marks trickle by.

Instead of underrating me as the kind of viewer who demands simple answers to everything right there on the screen (e.g. short cartoon style animated clip, complete with sarcastic touches, of Berlusconi gaining power) Gandini sees his opportunity to leave me and the audience hungry for elaborating facts. In my case, and I feel I might not be alone here, I found myself grabbing for my smart phone just minutes into the movie googling up all the people and places and checking facts mentioned in the film. I was so mind boggled I couldn't get of my computer until about 4 am.

Perhaps Gandini has overrated his audience's capability of coming to their own conclusions, but I for one feel a sense of gratitude towards the film maker. I feel grateful for being a free man and not getting controlled by government television.

However, I do have one complaint. Horror-music really doesn't help a serious documentary to get the message through as being objective. The actual events themselves are scary enough on there own without discrediting music, which only makes for a cheaper feel. Shame on you sound producers!
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worth watching, unless I suppose you're from Italy
marymorrissey23 August 2011
what strikes me about the reviews is the shock of people in the US who feel that this monopoly is so different from the so called 2 party system here in the US. first off, things aren't much better in this country with regards to poor taste, exploitation of women, and a cattle like docility of the population. 2ndly, at least ital isn't so involved in slaughtering millions around the globe. while there's shock aplenty when those numbers come up at the end giving Italy's stature in rank among countries in the world for issues such as "freedom" and "sexual equality" I can't imagine that the US is all that far ahead. in fact, "freedom" seems like such a slippery concept... the health care problems here mean far less freedom to have live all that long in this country, our educational system is becoming so exclusive, while belonging in the EU, any citizen of Italy can study at any major university in the entire EU for free, that kind of empowerment can engender freedom of a sort people here can only long for.

The movie did move pretty slowly at times and more information might have been conveyed at the expense of long shots that didn't really use up the screen time all that convincingly.
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Sexism & Fascism
Stella13 March 2010
A brilliant snapshot of how political and media monopolies in the ever-smiling face of Silvio Berlusconi have shaped public opinion and the dreams of Italian youth today. My only complaint is that the documentary focused too much on surface self-evident issues like the power of television instead of deeper-rooted issues in Italy like sexism and fascism. The documentary never questioned why young women restrict their potential and dreams to becoming the next Italian WAG, Silvio's mistress or a veline or why Lele Mora unabashedly has Mussolini-era anthems as his cellphone ringtone. Institutionalized sexism, poverty and lack of education are only hinted at as the doc centers around the more digestible issues of narcissism and Italian mama - son drama. A must see film nonetheless
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A must see movie
gabriellafurlan7 December 2009
I respect the opinion of viewers that wished for a more detailed explanation of how Berlusconi ascended to power imposing his videocracy on the whole Country. On the other hand, who let him do that and why is still debated in Italy and abroad, subject to political interpretation and therefore a quite tedious and convoluted story to tell. The audience here gets to experience the Italian TV and media dominated reality from a purely naturalistic angle, almost like an ethologist would look at a society of ants. The movie, I believe, is a lot more powerful and compelling that way: the viewers can go through all the the feelings of incredulity, anguish, disgust, pity and anger it generates without anyone saying out loud that they should, making those feelings all the more intense and true.
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Not Michael Moore, Michael Less
claudiaeilcinema7 September 2009
"Half cooked" should be the kindest expression to describe this attempt at revealing something we all know. There is no real depth or cinematic wit here. An opportunistic denouncement of sorts is all I think this is. The real problem is not Berlusconi's power but the power WE have allowed him. We are the problem, we're not victims of some sinister plot but the willing participants of a shameless spectacle. Berlusconi and his ilk couldn't have grown and progress in a Country with memory and pride instead he's going to go wherever he wants to go because we're making it possible. "Name me another Italian that has accomplished what I have accomplished" Berlusconi tells us and we don't say a word, not a word! The terrifying moments dedicated to the self confessed "Mussolinian" Lele Mora seem a work of fiction. He has a fascist little march illustrated by images of swastikas and Mussolini himself in his cell phone. And Fabrizio Corona? He indulges in a full frontal and on pearls of wisdom such as "Robin Hood took from the rich to gave to the poor, I'm the modern version of Robin Hood, I take from the rich and keep it" yes, this is the Country we live in, the Country that gave us Dante and Michelangelo. Oh God!
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a think piece with brilliant editing....
nave-antopolsky16 May 2010
After reading other reviews i decided to register in IMDb and vote for this film myself. Watching the film was a unique experience for me. I was excited and shocked at the images on the screen. The film is not a "normal" activist documentary where the filmmaker tells you what to think and what to feel in plain words. It takes you into a different culture that looks like it was brought to it's knees with the power of television and the use of women sexuality.

Living in Israel i am used to criticize my own country and watching films about it. Never mind the minor details the movie misses. It is true to it's artistic roots and in it's search for truth it shows the evil that lies behind the smile of Mr. Berlusconi. In my opinion this movie is a masterpiece.
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Italians from Italy 2009
Daniele Pinto9 September 2009
It feels as if it was put together in five minutes. Pity because the idea is great if not particularly new. Depressing as hell to think that, somehow, this reality represent us and I'm afraid it does. It is a decease of our own making. It's in our DNA, if you don't believe me listen to Mario Monicelli in his interview at Otto e Mezzo. "We're a country of "miserabili" (miserables). As long as someone has the guts to say it, there is hope. Here, the statement comes from Sweden of all places and seems amazed at things that us in Italy know perfectly well and complain about, perhaps, but in private. I think that Berlusconi truly represents the majority of Italians even those who don't want to admit it. Lele Mora gave me the chills and Fabrizio Corona who comes from a very intelligent, prominent journalistic family comes across as an ignorant product of his day. He indulges in a long naked scene, soaping his privates under the shower. What the hell was that!? We're suppose to be the Country of culture par excellence, how funny. We're the Country of the façade instead. We love cinema but we dub it, robbing the souls of the original actors, not just their voices. We divide the projections of films, arbitrarily, in Primo Tempo e Secondo Tempo (First Part and Second Part). We really don't give a damn and some of the consequences are painfully clear in "Videocracy" I only wish this documentary could be taken a bit more seriously.
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The land of Berlusconi media
stensson30 August 2009
Much has been sad about this documentary, before it's been shown. Europe outside Italy has its view clear. How is Berlusconi possible? You meet this agent with Mussolini songs in his cell phone. You meet the paparazzi king who with a considerable amount of self irony calls himself a Robin Hood, who takes from the poor and gives to himself. You also meet the 26-year-old worker, still living with his mother, who wants to be famous, combining Ricky Martin songs with karate tricks.

What we are supposed to think is obvious, but who is to blame? Is it the TV viewers who let this happened or someone else? The hen or the egg once again. That's the discussion which really ought to start from this film.
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Wow what a messed up country.
TheEmulator2316 February 2011
This was absolutely eye-opening of what's important in Italy. I don't know much about Berlusconi (The Italian Prime Minister) but for him also to run 90% of the state run television doesn't seem like it should exist. What's worse than that is he is completely above the law as he has given himself immunity from any sort of criminal prosecution...ever! What's dumbfounding to me more than anything is that the way the TV shows & things are run is nothing more than a somewhat cleaned up version of the way the mafia is run. I thought Americans were obsessed w/celebrity, but my god the Italians have us completely beat by a mile. Anyway it's interesting and sad to see the way women are completely objectified & how such a huge percentage are trying to make it by their looks alone. I have never seen a western country that treats women & they allow themselves to be treated so poorly. It reminded me of The Ms. America Pageant times 1000. It was quite disgusting as far as the culture & what's important in life w/what's going on there. I've never been a fan of Women's Lib, but that country needs it so bad.
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Sad but true
paultergeist10 May 2013
I agree with the reviews saying that nothing new (at least not to people living in Italy) is revealed in this film but that doesn't detract from it being a worthy documentary. On the contrary, having lived for 18 years in Italy, 5 of which were under Berlusconi's rule in government, I know full well how easily it is for people to complain behind closed doors about the issues portrayed in the film but then do precious little to change them.

Long before Berlusconi entered politics, he was already shaping the nation's opinions through his television and printed press empire. The film tracks back to 1980s shows like 'Drive In' which epitomised the sexualisation of entertainment by presenting an endless carousel of scantily clad women for absolutely no reason other than to keep the attention of its viewers. This is an ongoing scenario which only recently has been addressed both in parliament and on the streets by the women of Italy who have had enough.

As for Corona, here is the end product of such a system where greed and vanity are the prerequisite qualities for success. The fact that he isn't even a photographer just goes to show how talent is no guarantee nor is it a necessity for a rapid rise to riches for any individual whose mind is set on it.

If anything the portrayal of the 26 year old karate enthusiast is the saddest story of them all because he is clearly too naiive and too nice to make it in such a mercenary business as is the fame game in Italy.

'At night on the streets, I don't see people, I see business' Corona's words. Not a shred of Robin Hood in there whatsoever, if anything Corona is exactly the kind of person Robin Hood would have in his sights as prime target for his fabled exploits of altruism.

I also cringe when people ask 'How did it come to this?' because it's obvious, the polling stations were open, were they not? the option to vote for someone other than Berlusconi was there, was it not? Let's not turn this into a political debate, that's not what the film's premise is, regardless of your political views, this film should be watched and praised for its open exposure of a well known 'racket' where fame is king, whoever it is that gives it to you.

You only need look at political developments currently happening in Italy to see how little significance being right wing or left wing has.

The scene which struck me the most was Berlusconi being booed and jeered at the European Parliament where, true to form, he smiled broadly and pronounced everyone to be jealous of Italy, or rather, jealous of him and his success as an entrepreneur cum politician. That same arrogance is what put him in power in the first place and if again you ask how did he do it? You watched it happening on Italia 1, Canale 5 and Rete 4, every single day.

If you got bored of the Rai programmes, you had the option to switch to the commercial stations a choice which is tantamount to saying 'menomale che Silvio c'e'
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A hugely missed opportunity and a failed "J'Accuse"
huh_oh_i_c23 November 2009
This turned out to be a very disappointing film. I didn't know what it was about at all beforehand so I was not expecting anything. But from the beginning the film promises to be about the crimes and the de facto dictatorship of Berlusconi. Instead it turns out to be a somewhat homo-erotic gossip version about the difficulties of a blackmailing paparazzi.

I bumped into the filmmaker afterward since this was on a documentary festival, and when I remarked on the lack of information, of interesting details about Berlusconi criminal activities, he replied that he wasn't interested in being informative, since the information is already out there. This might be true for Italian, but not for the rest of Europe, we just got the sparse highlights about the corruption of Berlusconi. A deeper insight would have been very useful. But now with this garbage, that doesn't arise above the level of the tabloids and COMPLETELY lacks structure, we won't ever know what's what.

One thing worth mentioning is the depiction of the denigrating attempts of girls to become "Veline/i" dancers. Its utterly shameful to even the viewers how these girls degrade themselves to become a 30 second dancers, with auditions held in shopping malls. That's why I don't give it a 1, but a 2.

The Melancholic Alcoholic.
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100% political message
timelord-137 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's incredible to see how in Italy you can say all what you want and make all the movies you want only because you are communist. The very reason of Berlusconi's existence is that most Italian people is fed up with them, and he was the sole political leader in 60 years who dared to call them with their real name. The (former?) communists never forgave him, so it's 15 years that they try any way to demonstrate that he is a danger for Italy and democracy. Gandini's movie is the ultimate attempt to do this, and won't be the last. Gandini is simply an incompetent who tries to prove the absurd, that people have been hypnotized by television which persuaded them to vote for Berlusconi... Italian television history is more complex than what is seen in this movie (?), and anybody who knows it thinks that obviously television gave to people simply what people wanted. It's sad when you see people who dreams to become famous by means of television, but the search for easy money is a typical Italian vice, which surely did not begin with Berlusconi. A total crap, but communists will love it.
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Great Documentary, But What Else Is New???
JoeKulik16 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The story told about Italy in Videocracy (2009) by Erik Gandini is happening all over the world, especially here in the good old USA.

The big difference between Italy and the USA is that the Italian economic/political/industrial elite seems to be more open about how they are exploiting their people than is the economic/political/industrial elite in the USA. In Italy, the TV media is openly monopolized by just one man, Silvio Belesconi, and the same man used his media power to get elected President of Italy. In the USA, the same elite media/political power structure exists, but it is just more veiled, more "behind the curtain". The mechanism of monopoly capitalism here in the USA is that of "interlocking directorships", meaning the same fairly small group of power brokers sit on various boards of directors of all the large mega-corporations, including the US movie production corporations, and the TV network corporations, with one of these power brokers assuming the CEO role in a particular mega-corporation while still being a director on many other mega-corporate boards too. This economic/political/industrial elite in the USA doesn't run for any political office because they have more freedom that way to act behind the scenes. Instead, they just "buy" all the candidates in each election for Congress and the Presidency through enormous campaign contributions , and then just tell the candidates who do get elected what to do after they are elected.

Big studio Hollywood filmmakers and TV network programmers are doing exactly what Berlesconi is doing in Italy, except here in the USA instead of openly "dumbing down" and controlling the population with straight female sex shows like they do in Italy, mega-corporate big studio Hollywood "dumbs down" and controls the population with mindless "sensational" box office blockbusters that have no artistic merit and serve only to titillate and distract the population from what's really happening in this country. Ditto for mega-corporate TV networks.

The important part of the story that Videocracy does not cover is that all the power is not in the hands of Berlesconi. He's just the "front man", the publicly visible power broker who's just the "face" for the other power brokers behind the scenes. You can bet that if Berlesconi hadn't played ball with the other members of the Italian economic/political/industrial elite he wouldn't have been able to get the Italian TV monopoly that has now in the first place. Just like in the USA, Italy is REALLY governed at all levels by the interlocking directorships of all the major mega-corporations. How many of those boards of directors do you think Berlesconi sat on before being elected President? And did you ever hear about "globalization"? What do you think that's all about? It's the interlocking directorships of the major Western countries colluding to control the whole world's media, industry, government, banking, etc. CNN is already the global mega-corporate news media source for the globalized multi-national corporations. Corporate big studio Hollywood is close behind by marketing standard Hollywood brain numbing, mindless films with no artistic merit all over the world.

The kicker is that John Q Public in Italy, in the USA, and all over the world knows this is happening, yet does nothing about it. Guess he's too busy watching the latest brainless big studio Hollywood "blockbuster", or watching another brainless sitcom on TV, or keeping up to date on the "official" news from mega-corporate, world girdling CNN.

I'm just surprised that Erik Gandini hasn't ended up face down in a ditch by the side of the road somewhere for creating this damning expose Videocracy. You fool around with the economic/political/industrial elite at your risk and at the risk of your family. They know which way your kid walks to school.
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