Italian satirist takes aim at Berlusconi at Cannes
By James Mackenzie
CANNES, France (Reuters) - Comedian Sabina Guzzanti mounts a Michael Moore-style attack on the Italian political system in a documentary at the Cannes film festival that paints an alarming picture of eroding democracy and official lies.
"Draquila: Italy Trembles" examines the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the medieval city of L'Aquila last year, prompting a vast government clean up and resettlement operation driven by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
A former television satirist and a longstanding Berlusconi foe, Guzzanti employs some of the comic techniques made familiar by Moore although her style is more measured than the maverick U.S. filmmaker.
Mixing TV clips, interviews and the occasional cartoon, she lays into the version of events that presents Berlusconi as the savior of L'Aquila, suggesting instead that he used the disaster to entrench his power and undermine democracy.
"I was working on something else and someone told me some weird stories about what was going on there," she told Reuters Television in an interview. "I was really, really shocked because it was something very big and nobody knew about it."
Even before it was shown "Draquila" -- a play on the names of the vampire and the city -- aroused controversy in Italy, with Culture Minister Sandro Bondi denouncing the film as "propaganda offending the truth and the whole Italian people."
He declared that he would not attend Cannes in protest but the opening of the film has been given a huge boost by an investigation opened in February into suspected corruption linked to public contracts awarded in the wake of the disaster.