New film sends blood rushing to Italian PM’s head

2010-05-14 07:15

Cannes saw a blistering attack on Italian Prime Minister Silvio

Berlusconi with a Michael Moore-style documentary portraying him as a vampire

sucking the blood out of Italy.

Italy’s culture minister boycotted the film festival to protest

against the documentary’s screening here because he said it was “a propaganda

film that insults the truth and the Italian people”.

Draquila: Italy Trembles accuses Berlusconi of using last year’s

deadly earthquake in the central Italian town of L’Aquila to boost his image at

a time when it was tarnished by a series of lurid sex scandals.

But standup-comic-turned-director Sabina Guzzanti broadens her film

out to charge that the prime minister’s response to the quake perfectly

illustrates his allegedly nefarious techniques.

Guzzanti already took aim at Berlusconi in 2005 with Viva

Zapatero!, which blasted the government’s attempts to censor comedians.

She now accuses him of rewriting Italy’s laws to try to turn the

state into a giant and increasingly authoritarian enterprise to make himself and

his cronies richer.

According to Variety film magazine: “A tragic earthquake, shocking

corruption and massive abuse of power: Even for Italians accustomed to their

country’s scandals, Draquila is a kick in the gut.”

The film, which received a round of applause at its Cannes press

screening yesterday, argues that that the prime minister used the April 2009

catastrophe as a means to rebound after several sex scandals.

The quake killed 308 people and devastated the medieval mountain

city, leaving 80 000 people homeless.

As tens of thousands of residents were bused off to coastal hotels

or tent cities, where they lived under military rule, Berlusconi promised them

new homes and symbolically relocated a G8 summit to the ruined city.

But a year on, L’Aquila is still a ghost town, guarded by soldiers

and off-limits to most, while lodging for the displaced has been built far from

the city at three times the projected cost.

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