Videocracy

In Italy, for thirty odd years, the image has been controlled by one man. TV-magnate and Presidente Silvio Berlusconi has influenced the content of commercial television in a way never before done in Italy. His TV-channels, with their young skimpy-clad girls, are seen by many to mirror his own taste and personality.

In Videocracy, Italian-born director Erik Gandini portrays the consequences of a TV-experiment that Italians have been subjected to for 30 years. Gaining unique access to the most powerful media spheres, he unveils a remarkable story, born out of the scary reality of ”TV-Republic” Italy.

News

- In the US, Videocracy is scheduled to open at the prestigious arthouse chain Laemmle Theatre in Los Angeles, on July 2.

- Videocracy made its UK premiere at selected cinemas across the UK in early June, 2010. The film’s opening was flanked by good reviews and top ratings in major national papers and online media.

- Videocracy will be distributed in the UK by leading UK film distributor Dogwoof.

- Videocracy is screened at London’s Barbican Centre during London International Documentary Festival (April 23 - May 8, 2010). The film’s festival premiere followed a riveting Q&A session with Erik and a panel hosted by John Kampfer of Index on Censorship.

- Videocracy opens in New York City on February 12, before rolling out across the US.

- TimeOut’s raving review gives Videocracy 5 out of 5 stars.

Festivals & Screenings
Click here for information about festivals and screenings.

Awards
Best Documentary, Toronto Film Festival
Inaugural Special Jury Award, Sheffield Film Festival
Citti Award to Erik Gandini, Golden Graal (PDF in Italian)
Tempo Documentary Award 2010 (Best film)
Crossing Europe Award 2010 Linz, Austria

Reviews

Erik Gandini’s Videocracy is an intriguing, mordant look at the world of Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi: an acrid Dolce Vita for the modern day… a dreamy, mesmeric and highly disturbing psychogeography of 21st century Italy, or perhaps a meandering anthropological study of a disfunctional cult, ruled by a thin-skinned, self-pitying lader.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian 

The combination of terrific footage with a low, rumbling score of doom makes this a compelling horror show.

Dave Colhoun, Time Out London

Tragicomic in its nature… the politics-entertainment mix is chilling

Kate Muir, The Times

Videocracy is stylised and satirical, its humour pockmarked with a pitch-black resignation… This is a polemic with suave and sangfroid, an epitaph for a Catholic nation that makes a scantily clad TV starlet the Minister for Gender Equality

Tom Seymour, Little White Lies

A horrifying cavalcade of Mussolini-fixated agents and extortionists turned celebrities, it presents a media-political conspiracy that’s way beyond satire.

Philip French, The Guardian

Gandini maintains a critical distance and treats modern Italy as both comedy and tragedy.

Thom Powers
Head of Programming Real to Reel Toronto Film Festival

Videocracy is not exactly a movie about Berlusconi, but a movie about the Berlusconian Italy: physiologically, sociologically and maybe even anthropologically Berlusconian.

Francesco di Pace
Head of programming, Critic’s week, Venice film festival

No, it isn’t a documentary, it would be wrong to approach this movie in that way. It’s a horror film

Wu Ming Foundation

What makes Videocracy fascinating viewing is the inside view it provides of the celebrity-obsessed world that Berlusconi has created around him.

The Independent

Hard to forget

Hollywood Reporter

Videocracy is well crafted and edited. It’s just a shame it will never be shown on the TV networks it so ably holds up for scrutiny.

Screen Daily

Its portrait of the perversion of culture in Berlusconi’s Italy will hang in the memory of all who managed to enjoy the privilege of seeing it.

The Guardian

A jaw-dropping documentary… a chilling, cautionary expose of Orwellian dimensions.

Sly Fox

An aesthetic experience

Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish)

Erik Gandini’s documentary is the swedish horror film of the year

Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish)

Controversy around Videocracy
Both Berlusconi’s Mediaset channels and public broadcaster RAI refused to air the trailer for Videocracy, which Fandango released on 4 September 2009. RAI issued a statement saying that its three networks had refused to promote the movie because ”it is too much critical towards the Italian government”. Read the letter to Fandago (Italian).

In an interview with IndieWIRE, Erik Gandini said, ”Italy is probably the only country in the world where celebrity/TV and political power is merged together in the person of Silvio Berlusconi”.

In a twist of fate, instead of dampening interest in the film, cinema requests from Italy went from 30 to 90 prints!

”I was scared by the ban, and by RAI’s Orwellian-style letter, but the day after there was a huge explosion of interest on the internet”, Erik told The Independent.

Since the premier at the Venice Film Festival the controversy is still on in Italy.

In January, La voci di Romagna reported that a female teacher at Alessandro da Imola highschool near Bologna used Videocracy to illustrate the power of media in Italian society which sparked an outpouring of complaints from parents of students attending her classes. It escalated when local politicians Alessandro Fiumi and Galeazo Bignami from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party wrote a letter of complaint (Italian) to the Minister of Youth Giorgia Meloni expressing their discontent at showing the film in Italian schools. More in Italian here and here.