Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Do You Know About Me (Di me cosa ne sai): Valerio Jalongo

LFF: A provocative, idosyncratic and very entertaining documentary. Taking as its subject Italian cinema, past and present, it gives a particular and fascinating perspective on the political and industrial decisions which influenced Italian cinema in the postwar era, and features a range of remarkable archive footage, newsreel, clips from film masterpieces and great interviews with directors such as Fellini, that to most non-Italians will be completely unfamiliar. Yet this is far more than another version of, say, Martin Scorsese's 'Voyage to Italy' because the director is truly interested in why Italian cinema is what it is now. To this end, he looks at the multiplex boom, developing technology, changing political regimes and film funding; and interviews with just about every major Italian filmmaker currently working, including Francesca Comencini, Marco Bellochio, Giuseppe Piccioni and Paolo Sorrentino. For anyone remotely interested in Italian cinema, this is a genuinely must-see experience, as it puts the whole Italian film industry in a new from of reference, and even if you don't necessarfily agree with all of itsd ideas and suggestion, it is a remarkably clever and instructive experience.

MGP: I was expecting a revisionist view of Italian cinema cutting across the more traditional history which Scorses has so excellently portrayed but what did I find - a tedious, left wing polemic by filmmakers who could not get their films made or distributed because of the claimed dominance of the American companies. Even Ken Loach added a few remarks. What came across was not a reasoned argument though the dominance of Berlusconi's companies in the media was a point that probably needed emphasising. The collected view came across as if those involved were owed a living but this was a given for European cinema as a whole in the Paul Joyce documentary made in the early 90s with more coherence. Whatever the merits of the case against the spread of U.S. culture, this film was too unbalanced and diffuse to convince.

1 comment:

pppatty said...

One of these days we'll learn our lesson and stop choosing films about films which are so often either pretentious like the Hitchcock one or a sounding board for moaning.