RAI Bans Videocracy Trailer
Italian state TV will not allow trailers for the film “Videocracy” to be shown on the RAI network. The reason - they say it is “offensive” to the reputation of Prime Minister Berlusconi.
But with the wave of protest growing in Italy - the question is whether this isn't fuelling the interest in the movie?
The Swedish-Italian film maker Erik Gandini’s documentary is already the topic of conversation in Italy, despite the movie not premiering until next week. Both the state owned RAI network and Berlusconi’s Mediaset are refusing to show the trailer, which features a smiling Berlusconi with scantily clad women, as well as statistics claiming that Italy has a low press freedom rating.
According to the BBC, RAI motivates the rejection by writing that the trailer alludes to recent stories about Berlusconi’s private life. But Erik Gandini says that this is impossible as the film was already completed by the time the recent scandals hit the papers.
“It is a film about the present time. It is a film that talks about how Italy have become after all these years. Of course Berlusconi is in the story. In a videocracy, the key to power is the image. In Italy, one man only has kept the domination of the image over three entire decades,” Italian born Gandini told the BBC.
The documentary "Videocracy" is about Berlusconi’s 30 years of “culture revolution”, where Italian politics is portrayed as going hand in hand with lightly clad women dancing on TV. Gandini feels that the ban only proves his misgivings that the Italian democracy and freedom of speech is severely limited. RAI’s three channels and Berlusconi’s Mediaset make up 90% of the available free-to-air broadcasters in Italy.
“It is clear that it is not possible to discuss the content of Italian television culture on Italian TV. RAI’s letter is full of Orwellian Big Brother attitude - a language of power which is both threatening and unpleasant,” Gandini said to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
In the rejection letter, RAI states that the movie trailer is a political message which is aimed at the Italian government and that they are willing to broadcast it only if an alternative view is shown alongside.
But according to Gandini, the government already have the opportunity to broadcast an opposing opinion through the state TV network, which has a president appointed by the government, as well as through Berlusconi’s own Mediaset.
“The other side has six channels, 24/7, telling the other story. I think they really can afford a discussion about these things,” Gandini told the BBC.
The Swedish-Italian film maker is getting support from many different quarters and the media interest in the movie prior to next week’s premiere at the Film Festival in Venice is huge. In Italy the wave of protest against the ban is growing, with Facebook groups and sms messages urging people to go see the movie. The film will be opening in 30 theatres in 25 Italian cities, the day after the festival premiere. And the hype is welcomed by Gandini.
“This commotion is of course marvellous PR for the film. The best quote came from an Italian who said ‘Fuck TV, let’s go to the movies’,” he told Dagens Nyheter.
Listen to our interview with the documentary maker Erik Gandini: