Shown today at the Opening of the Special screenings (20 hours, in the Salle du Soixantième), the new documentary by Sabina Guzzanti is a tirade against Silvio Berlusconi, who is accused of making political capital out of the earthquake that struck L’Aquila, a small town in the Abruzzes region of Italy on 6 April 2009.
To a certain extent, Sabina Guzzanti is to Italy what Michael Moore
is to the US: a major journalistic figure who garners both respect and controversy for her willingness to shine light into the shadier corners of public life. Like her American alter-ego, this imitator with a gift for political satire enjoys skewering the power games of the great and (not so) good in her native Italy. She says she will go to any lengths to get at the truth, in the name of the freedom to inform, even if it means creating a storm. “Satire is about the right to freedom of expression in a democracy”
, she likes to point out.
In 2005, she made headlines in Italy with her feature length Viva Zapatero!
, a vitriolic criticism of the censorship imposed on the media by the current head of the Italian government, Silvio Berlusconi. With Draquila, Italy Trembles
, a forceful new documentary with an evocative title (Draquila
, like Dracula), this time she accuses the Italian leader, whose poll ratings were collapsing before the earthquake, of deliberately slowing down the rehousing of victims in order to turn the catastrophe to his political advantage.
By deciding to screen Sabina Guzzanti’s film despite the uproar the film has triggered within the Italian government, the Cannes Festival reaffirms its aim of preserving a special place for documentary movies. Indeed, we have seen this become a major trend since 2002. That year, the Festival’s official selection included Être et avoir
, by Nicolas Philibert
(out-of-competition), and Bowling For Columbine
, by Michael Moore (in competition). In 2004, the genre was fully confirmed as an essential part of the Festival’s identity, and even marked out new territory: Farenheit 9/11
, which was presented in competition, once again by Michael Moore, won the Palme d’Or of the Jury
chaired by Quentin Tarantino