Rivista Anarchica Online


Silvio seen from

One of the most popular titles submitted to film festivals in Venice is rightly called "Videocracy", a documentary of a skillful compilation of archive footage that describes contemporary Italy as a mirror of the commercial television empire of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In the videocracy that is Italy, the image is the key to power and Berlusconi is shown as a master of his own image. The award-winning documentary filmmaker Erik Gandini ("Surplus", "GITMO"), born in Italy who now lives in Sweden, presents a convincing case without resorting to direct satire or political commentary à la Michael Moore and the film has a morbid fascination that effect both in a theater as well as on TV.
Although Berlusconi himself - the man, oligarch, tabloid personality and victim of plastic surgery - has an undeniable entertainment value, Gandini is more interested in what might be called the Berlusconi effect. What is the impact of Berlusconi on Italian culture, especially those for whom celebrity is power. And that is why, by accident or intentionally, "Videocracy" ends with a larger mirror on the world.
While Berlusconi is at the heart of the film, he shares screen time with many others that Gandini was chosen as symbols of today's Italy-persuasive presentations (and mesmerizing and repulsive) figures large in the pop culture scene: Lele Mora, agent of success that says his friend Silvio is "a great man, a great leader. He actually does not reach the level of ideology, methods and means of Benito Mussolini, but it's still a great figure." Then, with a smile on his face, he plays fascists songs and displays Nazi photos on his cell phone. There is then Fabrizio Corona, a mercenary of paparazzi photos that capture celebrities in compromising moments, photos that he sells them back to the VIPs who want to avoid their publication in a myriad of gossip magazines in Italy. Both these characters have a chilling charm, but it is unclear why the film devotes so much time to Corona, a relatively minor character, which, among other things, lets to be shoot completely naked in his bathroom.
It is when the film focuses on Berlusconi, when it really puts into focus and becomes more revealing. There are videos of the famous Berlusconi's villa in Sardinia, shot from the terrace of his neighbor, whose owner Marella Giovannelli take pictures of guests at the party of Prime Minister and sells them online.
Not a pretty picture that emerges from Italy, and we can only say it is a little too pessimistic, since it does not cover all those in Italy who loudly resist the scorched earth of Berlusconi's television. However, the archival images document for us the changes that came into the country over the past 30 years, from the first breaking performances of housewives who are doing the strip-tease to the endless parade of TV dance aspirants vying for the chance to show breasts and bottoms as "veline".
The film's opening montage of these images, along with the ominous music of Johan Soderberg, creates a sickening sense of family pornography that is hard to forget. Most of all, the power of television to manipulate images of young Italians itself looks like something that will have a lasting impact in the distant future.
The trailer for this film, which has been banned by RAI (and, of course, the Mediaset networks too), you can see at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturevideo/filmvideo/cinema-trailers/7762165/Videocracy-Trailer.html
The film, mostly spoken in Italian with English subtitles, you can see it on http://Netflix.com, where it is available in streaming video.

Enrico Massetti


Il gabbiere Fabrizio
De André

The libro Il libro del mondo. Le storie dietro le canzoni di Fabrizio De Andrè (The stories behind the songs of Fabrizio De Andrè), by Walter Pistarini (Giunti, Firenze 2010, pagg. 320, €22,00) is now on the bookstore's shelves. This is the reproduced of the introduction by the author.

"There is a book that explains all the songs of Fabrizio De André?" This is the most common and most difficult question that I often receive on the site www.viadelcampo.com.
De André is "discovered" all the time, and who even comes close to his songs led by Piero's War or Marinella soon discovers that there is a world much larger than it looks and what seemed to be more beautiful is continuously even better.
But as you pay attention, as you listen again to the songs, is often something elusive, like the song hides, although very challenging messages, other content. And like a good piece of classical music, we discover anew each replay something, persists despite the feeling that something still escapes. I think it's a feeling shared by many fans, and that, in fact, triggers demand for help.
Not that there have been attempts to answer, indeed. The Web has lots of discussion and very interesting material. There are many sites that collect and organize material for De André with love and passion. In addition to mine, I want to signal that of the Foundation http://www.fondazionedeandre.it/index.html, with a press release that is essential for any study, and then to Marcello http://www.faberdeandre.com/ rich and refined, with many videos, that of Giuseppe, http://www.giuseppecirigliano.it, and that of Giacomo, http://www.creuzadema.net. I report also a mailing list, now practically inactive (but it could awaken from its torpor): http://it.groups.yahoo.com/group/fabrizio/ and still in his archive there are thousands of very exciting and interesting posts. Finally a couple of forums: http://www.faberdeandre.com/forum/ and http://deandre.forumfree.it.
Last, but not for interest, there is a new site, with its special features: http://tangoitalia.com/fabrizio_de_andre/in Italian and English version of "The other Fabrizio", a website dedicated to the anarchist ideas by Fabrizio de André. In the site there are many videos with the songs of Fabrizio, complete with words and comments, in English and Italian (and Genoese and Sardinian dialect where appropriate).
And what about books? At a quick count I have listed my 94, not counting those on the Italian music. And the newspaper articles, videos, interviews?
Well. This is all the material I used to write "the book that I wanted to read." On the site I had already started for some time to improve the FAQ (frequently asked questions about De André) and collect documentation. In the two years it took me for writing the book I picked up what I had and I reworked the material mentioned above. I just extended the research of the sources, and then Brassens, Dylan, Cohen and something else. It's been an exciting adventure, much more than I ever thought possible. Carefully studying the texts, sources, interpretations of others, the interviews I discovered again almost all the songs of Fabrizio De André. I understand fully what it means when Ivano Fossati defines De André "a scholar lent to the music." In fact, each song has an impressive cultural background. Sally, just to give a small example, is full of quotations: it starts from the English nursery rhyme "My Mother Said That I never should / Play with the gipsies in the wood" but then goes his own way with references to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Pilar) and El Topo by Jodorowsky ... We all know that Smisurata preghiera was written using lines of Mutis. What is less known is that De André took verses from Mutis, but bent them to his message. While in Mutis Maqroll is the sailor who is highest on the sails, and sees all the top, in Smisurata preghiera is the majority that is high and distant.
De Andre keeps his vision, very special, definitely anarchist, anarchism confident in the neighbor, attentive to the needs of the latter. In my opinion De André had the rare ability to read "The Book of the World" that's what I hope to be able to discern in this text.

Walter Pistarini
Translation by Enrico Massetti ("The other Fabrizio" + "Pinelli-Piazza Fontana")