Directed by: Sabina Guzzanti | 80 minutes | documentary | Featuring: Rory Bremner, Enzo Biagi, Dario Fo, Bruno Gaccio, Beppe Grillo, Sabina Guzzanti, Silvio Berlusconi, Daniele Luttazzi, Neri Marcoré, David Riondino, Michele Santoro, Marco Travaglio, Roberto Herlitzka, Karl Zero
Silvio Berlusconi is a total media dictatorship in Italy. The most powerful newspapers and TV channels are directly or indirectly (through friends or family) in his hands. All substantive criticism of his regime is censored away. Sharp journalistic programs have to make way for cooking programs or light shows in which, incidentally, Berlusconi often even makes an appearance.
Sabina Guzzanti made a satirical program called RaiOt (pronounced riot) that was removed from the channel after one episode. The reason given was that her program is not satire but insulting political reproach. A lawsuit followed in which Guzzanti was found in the right, but she did not get her program back. But Guzzanti did not stop there and decided to make this occasionally sharp documentary on her own.
First of all, she asks whether satire without political slander is conceivable at all. With this question she ends up at various European satirical programs, including Tacks in which Queen Beatrix and Prime Minister Balkenende have to suffer. In England, the royal family has almost traditionally been ridiculed for decades, for example Spitting Image.
But the Netherlands also has a tradition to uphold in that regard. Thanks to Wim T. Schippers, in the 1970s, the Netherlands could see Queen Juliana peeling Brussels sprouts on TV. This resulted in parliamentary questions and the VPRO lost some members. In “Viva Zapatero!”, Sabina Guzzanti takes to the streets to confront parliamentarians and lawyers with tough questions. The flight behavior on display is both telling and hilarious.
Italy ranks among a number of African countries in terms of freedom of the word (measured by the strength of the opposition in parliament). The success of the film indicates that many Italians are more than tired of this situation. At the film festival in Venice, “Viva Zapatero!” Was greeted with a twenty-minute standing ovation.