Movie Night: Viva Zapatero
October 25, 2005
USC4P&J occasionally organizes "Movie Nights", a group outing to the cinema to see a film of interest and a discussion over pizza afterwards. On October 25 we went to see the Italian documentary Viva Zapatero. Below is Stephanie's account of the evening.
I had been really looking forward to seeing this documentary. The autobiographical film deals with Sabina Guzzanti, an Italian satirist, and her canceled television program, RAIot (a play on the name of the state public TV: RAI). I thought I had been following the case relatively closely, but in the film I learned much more.
I kept thinking of all the parallels with the situation of freedom of expression in the United States, and the almost non-existent opposition. Though the two situations are quite different. In the U.S. you have the corporate owned media often simply repeating what the government says without investigating or asking tough questions. Whereas in Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owns 3 private TV stations and indirectly controls the 3 state channels through the government. Journalists who criticize the government or even comedians who do satire poking fun at Berlusconi and his policies can find themselves without work, despite being very popular.
And that is what happened to Sabina Guzzanti. After only one episode, her series RAIot was canceled, purportedly because of legal action by Berlusconi. So she decided to take a stand and this film chronicles her unsuccessful attempts to get the show back on the air, even after the lawsuit was found to be without merit. The film includes interviews with Italian politicians, journalists as well as satirists in France and England who can't believe Berlusconi was able to cancel her show.
The most surprising comments in the film were from the left, the "opposition." For example, when asked why the center left coalition, while in power, did nothing to advance a law on conflict of interest, a member of the DS party claimed "Berlusconi had just lost an election. We didn't want to kick him while he was down." And the pauses and stammering during the interviews with Petruccioli were priceless.
After the film, we went for pizza and to chat. These movie nights offer us a chance to see a good film as well as get to know members of our group on a personal level, which helps strengthen our group. This was a very pleasant evening.
If you haven't yet seen this film, make a point to do so. And see the Viva Zapatero web site for a petition you can sign with 10 points for a future government.
Special thanks to Gene Rizzo for organizing.
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Copyright © 2005 Stephanie Westbrook All rights reserved.
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy