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Critic Reviews for Videocracy
Pulsing with incredulity and dread, it's less a fully developed argument than the seed of one.
The combination of terrific footage with a low, rumbling score of doom makes this a compelling horror show.
Videocracy is a queasy-funny and unapologetically biased look at the televisual world that the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has created.
If a team of clever screenwriters tried to script a cautionary tale about the politics of fame (and the fame of politics), they likely couldn't come up with anything odder or more apt than Erik Gandini's documentary Videocracy.
Audience Reviews for Videocracy
I was relieved when this long laundry list of descriptions of malaise was over. Three stars of five. The film certainly described aspects of a couple of layers of current Italian society, but it has an unfortunate ax-grinding feel to it. I came away from watching this film knowing more than I did from just Internet news accounts, but I did not feel it is a substantial difference.
"Videocracy" starts by showing the inherent superiority of European television over its American counterpart. Sadly, the documentary does not see it that way as it seems to think any undressing on television leads immediately to "Caligula."(Relax, it's not like Hugh Hefner is running the country or anything...) All of which is laid at the feet of now former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi(why couldn't he have held on for another couple of weeks?) and his vast media empire which controls 90% of the television stations in Italy which on the face of it is very, very bad. But the documentary is less interested in his government's policies than in fame and reality programs which are not just an Italian problem but a worldwide plague. Even worse, the filmmakers in pure amateur hour fashion do not even come close to connecting the dots.
Not long ago I read the novel "The Monster of Florence," in which the Italian "justice" system was, well ... put it this way: I no longer care to visit Italy as an American tourist. Now comes director Erik Gandini's documentary "Videocracy," and it's frightened me away from Italian television. OK, OK, so I don't watch Italian TV, anyway. But Gandini's film elevates the corrupting influence of television to a whole new level. According to Gandini, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has managed to sway an entire electorate with a televisual combination of sex, youth, and beauty. Berlusconi, a charismatic media mogul and three-time prime minister, has used his television and magazine monopoly to convince the Italian populace that, with just a bit of good fortune, every last one of them can live the good life. As Gandini narrates over the film's final images: "Anyone can become popular. You just need to be seen." Gandini shows the folly of this daydream by juxtaposing the pathetic stabs at stardom by Ricky, a talentless young mechanic, with the life of luxury and decadence enjoyed by Berlusconi and his shady acquaintances, including baby-faced talent agent Lele Mora and paparazzo king Fabrizio Corona, whose hobbies include extortion and nude preening for Gandini's cameras. (Some of you ladies might consider this scene worth the price of admission; Corona is, ahem, blessed -- and not the least bit camera shy.) None of this is a revelation, of course. The "cult of celebrity" has been examined and re-examined in this country and elsewhere for decades. But unless Gandini's film is a gross exaggeration of conditions in his native country, we might all do well to turn off the tube and pick up a good book instead. Unless it's "The Monster of Florence," that is.
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