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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!
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.
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.
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.
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'
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.
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.