Italian cinema is an institution, but it has been a long time since it competed officially at Cannes. Fortunately that is not the case in this 61st Festival.
Two films in particular have injected, each in their own way, an effective dose of criticism and controversy into Italian cinema, which until recently did not address such sensitive topics as the Mafia and political corruption.
In his 2006 book, “Gomorra”, Robert Saviano wrote:
“I was born in the land of Camorra, the place in Europe with the most deaths by assassination, a territory where violence is part of business, where nothing has value unless it generates power. Where everything has the flavour of a final battle.”
When Robert Saviano finished his book, he had to sign up for permanent police protection.
It is this book that Matteo Garrone decided to adapt to film with scathing reality. “Gomorra” is the history of the Camorra – organised crime based in the region of Naples.
Another film, Paolo Sorrentino’s “Il Divo”, follows the life of Giulio Andreotti, former prime minister, who had a particular way of governing that Sorrentino calls the “Andreotti-way of running the Christian Democrats.”
These two works fill a void. Whether dealing with politicians or mafia, the themes resemble each other. And with urgency, Italian cinema reprises its role in political engagement.
Watch the entire show by clicking "The Cannes Reports" in the right column.
Check out web correspondent Arnab Banerjee’s video blog.