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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
February 13th, 2013. Giovanna Melandri banned the documentary ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ from its premier at the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts of Rome due to the 2013 Italian elections. The documentary’s narrator, former editor of The Economist Bill Emmott, complained that this was an act of censorship by the Italian government and even after 3000 citizens signed the petition the MAXXII National Museum did not budge and the documentary was screened at the Teatro Eliseo, hosted by L’Expresso magazine. After learning about the effort made to prohibit the viewing, I became curious as to what the documentary had to say about Italy that made Berlusconi extremely uneasy. I first watched the documentary a few months later and since then it has heavily opened my eyes to the fact that the global area can not only see but is heavily monitoring Italy’s situation.
The film is directed, produced, and co-written by Annalisa Piras, journalist and film-maker, co-written and narrated by Bill Emmott. It has the advantange of telling Italy’s story from both the perspective of an outside admirer of the nation, Emmott, and an insider, Piras. The witty title is taken from the British song by The Smiths and expresses Emmott’s love for Italy. Italy is in fact everyone’s girlfriend: it is the ideal place to go on holiday and can offer the most beautiful panorama, experiences, culture and, of course, food. It is everything one can want yet it is in a coma; the Italian government is as unstable as a ship in the midst of a storm and the Italian people seem somewhat dormant, either too tired or too afraid to react. The documentary was inspired by Bill Emmott’s book ‘Good Italy, Bad Italy: Why Italy needs to conquer its demons to face the future’ which was published by Yale University Press in 2012 and looks at Italian and Western decline. The film has a mixture of animations and hard core facts, interviews with companies and questions which had been left unanswered being put back on the table.
Girlfriend in a Coma looks at how Italy has entered a period of deep stagnation in the past two decades and sees its tale as a warning sign for the rest of the West. With an allegorical reference to the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri, the documentary identifies ‘Ignavia’ – the sin of lack or moral courage – as a fundamental reason for Italians’ failure to react. The narrator divides Italy into the ‘Buona Italy’ and the ‘Mala Italia’ as it explores the country in economic, political and cultural terms. The entire film is very critical of Silvia Berlusconi, former Prime Minister, due to what he did – or rather failed to do – during his time in government alongside his amoral strategy to use his media outlets to influence the Italian electorate. The interviews in the documentary vary from that of Mario Monti, Italian Prime Minister in 2011-2012, to Umberto Eco, famous novelist and from Roberto Saviano, the author of Gomorrah, to John Elkann, Chairman of FIAT. Once the documentary was screened it unleashed a series of hashtags ‘wakeupItaly’ and opened many Italians eyes to their Sleeping Beauty reality. By comparing Italy’s justice system and freedom of speech levels to their countries it quickly became evident that Italy was lacking the democratic push it needs to wake up and, although a nation cannot change overnight, many remain hopeful that in the war between ‘la Bella Italia’ and ‘La Mala Italy’ the former will win.
Image 1: https://bffsbookingscheme.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/stil_61.jpg
Image 2: http://girlfriendinacoma.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Schermata-2013-02-13-alle-11.25.171-1024x557.jpg