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Videocracy

Tuesday, October 13

How can you explain what’s happened to Italy in the age of its current prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi? As the owner of the country’s television empire, he wields a powerful tool for shaping public opinion to his benefit. His force of will is reflected by the TV commercial in which throngs of Italians sing, “Thank God Silvio exists.” To an outsider, it may seem bizarre. VIDEOCRACY tries to show how it feels from the inside by profiling people immersed in Berlusconi’s world. They range from a wealthy talent agent close to the prime minister, to a paparazzo feeding off the media circus, to an amateur singer seeking the fame that only television can supply.

Director Erik Gandini approaches the material as both insider and outsider. He grew up in Italy but now lives in Sweden, and gains remarkable access into the opulent world of Berlusconi’s associates. Their lavish lifestyles become further fodder for Italian media, but any journalist who’s inclined to criticize faces a strong temptation to simply join the party. Gandini maintains a critical distance and treats modern Italy as both comedy and tragedy. Throughout the film, we see clips of Berlusconi speaking in public. At one press conference, the prime minister states, “Dedicating fifty per cent of your time trying to make Italy a credible nation on the international scene is incredibly hard work.” Maybe so. But from the looks of VIDEOCRACY, we get the impression he spends the other fifty per cent doing the opposite.

  • Country United States
  • Language English
  • Rating NR
  • Year 2009
  • Running Time 80 minutes
  • Director Erik Gandini