Archives / 2006 Sundance Film Festival

Viva Zapatero!

Director: Sabina Guzzanti

Screenwriters: Sabina Guzzanti

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Sabina Guzzanti's ferociously funny documentary deals with her own ill-fated television show, RAIot, which aired on RAI, the Italian public television service. The show featured comedy sketches in which Guzzanti, a brilliant clown, mimic, and physical comedienne, skewered the current Italian administration, and, most wickedly, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Criticizing his use of political and corporate influence to control 90 percent of Italian media, Guzzanti's program also raised questions about the systematic replacement of respected journalists with people in Berlusconi's own employ. After a single episode, which garnered raves, the show was threatened with a lawsuit by Berlusconi's corporation and unceremoniously given the ax.

Outraged, Guzzanti took to the streets, boldly confronting RAI executives and interviewing her colleagues from other European nations. One particularly telling segment compares Italian with French TV, where ruthless satire programs regularly include outrageous segments razzing the likes of Jacques Chirac, Pope John Paul II, and George Bush.

Viva Zapatero! (the title is a salute to the Spanish prime minister's progressive reforms) is not only an ingenious look at one woman's crusade against censorship; it is also a mischievous examination of the meaning of satire and a savvy critique of the current era of vast media corporations and the political forces that attempt to manipulate them.

— Elizabeth Richardson

Screening Details

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