Monday, September 07, 2009

TV network's attempt to stifle Silvio Berlusconi documentary backfires

When the Italian TV networks RAI and Mediaset refused to screen the trailer for Videocracy, they hoped to dampen interest in the film, a documentary feature that accuses their boss, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, of fomenting a debased and chauvinistic media culture. Instead, requests from Italian cinemas to screen the film have doubled, and its director credits the broadcasters' ban for the surge in interest.

Videocracy screens today at the Venice film festival, in the independent International Critics' Week strand. It opens with footage from one of the notorious "stripping housewives" gameshows that first aired on Berlusconi's channels in the 70s – material, the film argues, that set the tone for the culture Berlusconi would dominate and degrade for more than three decades.