Italy's minister of culture frowns upon Draquila: Italy Trembles

Earthquake Doc Causes Controversy in Cannes

on May 13, 2010 by Richard Mowe

The first spot of controversy has arrived at the Cannes Film Festival - and it is only day two of the Riviera jamboree which opened on Wednesday with Ridley Scott's Robin Hood.

The screening tonight (Thursday) of a documentary on the L'Aquila earthquake in April 2009 has prompted Italy's minister of culture to boycott the event after it was deemed that "a piece of propaganda" was included in the official programme.

Sandro Bondi declined the invitation, expressing his "regret and his concern" over the selection of Draquila: Italy Trembles, which, he says, "insults the truth and the Italian people".

Draquila, by the comedian and satirical author Sabina Guzzanti, has been a huge hit on its home turf but Ms. Guzzanti is no Michael Moore and she leaves many questions unanswered or unclear. To non-Italians the welter of detail may prove a turn-off and certainly presents a challenge.

Apparently clips already have been aired on television, and show Guzzanti impersonating Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and condemning the takeover by politicians of reconstruction projects in the central town of L'Aquila.

Of some 120,000 people affected by the earthquake in and around L'Aquila, more than 52,000 have yet to return home or move into new housing.

Many are living in hotels along the Adriatic seacoast or in barracks at public expense while residents of the new housing estates, which campaigners say were built at three times the projected cost, complain that they have no supporting transport links, no public services -- or even shops.

Reconstruction efforts are also clouded by scandal, with the head of the civil protection service implicated in a wide-ranging investigation into the awarding of contracts in the mountainous quake zone.

The title divided the critics between the Italians who applauded Guzzanti's audacity and chutzpah and outsiders who could not come to grips with the machinations of corruption Italian-style.

Tags: Draquila: Italy Trembles, Cannes Film Festival

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