A selection of the best documentaries on current affairs and human rights
organized by CineAgenzia
Once again this year the Palazzo delle Esposizioni will be hosting a programme of documentaries that Internazionale has selected for the journalism festival which it organizes in Ferrara every year. The retrospective, which will be touring numerous other Italian cities after Rome, comprises a new selection of eight very recent documentaries on current affairs, human rights, information and freedom of expression from all over the world, picked out at the best national and international festivals. The predominant theme of the retrospective is risk: the risk that people run when they continue to adopt a stance, to inform and to challenge laws and systems, including in situations where violence and censorship are the order of the day. The editors of Zeta weekly in Mexico who doggedly insist on filling their front pages with pictures of drug traffickers and corrupt cops are risking their lives, and Danish film director Mads Brügger put his life on the line in his new and controversial investigation-cum-performance on diplomacy in central Africa. The members of the Voina Art Group, creative and fearless opponents of the Russian regime, are in serious danger of repression; the Anonymous activists combating the multinational corporations and Scientology on behalf of freedom on the web, risk imprisonment; and the Chinese bloggers who use new technologies to challenge the official mass media and police surveillance run the gauntlet of censorship. Illegal immigrants in Switzerland risk being put on a "special flight" and sent packing from their new life for ever, the European Union risks financial and cultural collapse on account of the lobbies steering Community life, and we all risk never being sufficiently informed, for instance about how a legal system can be set up and developed whereby the state of Israel has justified and continues to justify its occupation of the Palestinian Territories. These eight films help us to avert precisely that risk, the risk of being badly or insufficiently informed, of forgoing in-depth exploration and dissent, in an era of obsessive and increasingly suspect calls for unity and cohesion at all costs. The editors of Internazionale will be present throughout the screening of this documentary retrospective, introducing the audience both to the issues and to the films themselves.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni - Sala Cinema
Admission via steps in via Milano 9a, Rome
ADMISSION FREE WHILE PLACES LAST
Reservations may be made by membership card holders only
EUROPE - cinema review
The Brussels business - admission free
directed by Friedrich Moser and Matthieu Lietaert. Belgium, Austria, 2012 (85 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Gabriele Crescente (Internazionale) and Sergio Fant (CineAgenzia).
Back in the early 'nineties two ambitious young men discovered that even in Brussels, the heart of the European institutions, lobbies wield a powerful influence. This discovery changed their lives. One of the two began to probe the affair and went on to become one of Europe's biggest experts in lobbying and an activist in combating their excessive power. The other one, succumbing to the fascination of that world, left a safe job with the European Commission to take up a career as a lobbyer himself. What role do the 15,000 lobbyers who live and work in Brussels really play, between think tanks and behind-the-scenes intrigue? This film takes us on a trip through the shadowy corridors of EU politics, offering us an unofficial history of the integration and neo-freemarketeering restructuring of the Community institutions that began in the 'eighties.
CHINA - cinema review
High Tech, Low Life - admission free
directed by Stephen Maing. United States, China, 2012 (87 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Junko Terao (Internazionale).
Two bloggers travel across China, a country in the grip of an economic boom, searching for news that tends to get overlooked by the official information channels. Armed with laptops, cell phones and video cameras, they have to circumnavigate censorship while taking great care not to cross the borderline between freedom of expression and dissidence. "Tiger Temple", aged 57, tells us of the world around him but without forgetting the recent history of China, while "Zola", aged 27, adopts a provocational style in his endeavour to become a web celebrity. Their crossed paths paint an original picture of contemporary Chinese society and its information system, urging us to reflect on the role of journalism in the era of the social network.
ISRAEL - cinema review
The law in These Parts - admission free
directed by Ra'anan Alexandrovicz. Israel, 2011 (101 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Jacopo Zanchini (Internazionale).
Can a modern democracy coexist alongside prolonged military occupation without flying in the face of its own basic principles? After the war of 1967 which led to the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army enforced its laws, set up tribunals, sentenced and jailed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and authorized half a million settlers to put down roots in the occupied territories. It also imposed on the area a long-term military jurisdiction that has no precedent anywhere in the world. The men tasked with creating this legal system and then running it are military magistrates who have worked as its architects under the supervision of the Israeli Supreme Court. These judges continue to have to run a highly complex legal system that serves to manage a constantly changing situation, amid moral dilemma and the need to comply with international law.
WEB - cinema review
We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists - admission free
directed by Brian Knappenberger. United States, 2012 (91 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Giulia Zoli (Internazionale).
Anonymous is a collective of hackers and activists well known for its attacks on the websites of large groups such as Scientology, PayPal and Sony. The hacktivists in the group reject hierarchies, fighting for freedom of expression and against the financial and economic power of the multinational corporations. Their actions have redefined the concept of civil disobedience on the Internet. Using the testimonies of activists and experts, the documentary reconstructs the group's history from the start - the Cult of the Dead Cow hackers and such reference sites as 4chan - right up their political maturity and the role that they have been playing in the Arab Spring and in the Occupy movement. Born as a forum on the web, Anonymous has become a global movement capable of shirking off all attempts to bend it to other uses.
MEXICO - cinema review
Reportero - admission free
directed by Bernardo Ruiz. United States, Mexico, 2012 (72 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Camilla Desideri (Internazionale).
In Tijuana, a Mexican city on the border with the United States, being a journalist can cost you your life. But reporters Sergio Haro, Adela Navarro Bello and their colleagues with Zeta magazine have chosen to run that risk. Amid a myriad difficulties, every week they publish an independent magazine which has been disseminating investigations into drug trafficking and corruption for thirty-two years, running the gauntlet of the drug lords and of the corrupt hierarchies at the top of the institutions in one of the most dangerous places on the planet. Over forty reporters have either disappeared or been murdered in Mexico since December 2006, when former President Felipe Calderón launched a campaign to repress the drug cartels. Calderón's operation has failed to reduce drug trafficking and violence among the cartels for control of the territory, while the risks are still high for journalists and the last free voice in Tijuana is in danger of being silenced.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - cinema review
The Ambassador - admission free
directed by Mads Brügger. Denmark, 2011 (97 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Francesca Sibani (Internazionale).
What happens when a (very) white European illegally acquires the credentials to become a Liberian diplomat and lands in one of the most corrupt and dangerous countries on the African continent? After his adventure in North Korea, recounted in The Red Chapel, Mads Brügger returns to the Internazionale retrospective in Rome with a new "journalistic performance", an investigation conducted in the first person into the secret and corrupt world of diplomacy in Africa. The Danish film director dons the garb of a Liberian ambassador in the Central African Republic and gains accreditation with the local elite. On the pretext of setting up a match factory, he actually seeks to lay his hands on a shipment of illegally mined diamonds.
IMMIGRATION - cinema review
Vol Spécial - admission free
directed by Fernand Melgar. Switzerland, 2011 (100 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Annalisa Camilli (Internazionale).
Every year in Switzerland thousands of men and women are jailed without standing trial, simply on the strength of the fact that they are illegally resident without an official sojourn permit. Pending deportation, they can remain in jail for months. Some of them have lived in Switzerland for a long time, they have a family, a job, they pay taxes and they send their children to school. But their lives are turned upside down the day the police decide to shut them away in detention centres like the one in Frambois, near Geneva. From that moment on, a long administrative process is set in motion with the intent of forcing them to agree to deportation. The victims of an implacable legal system, humiliated and without hope, those who refuse to leave voluntarily are forced to comply with the extreme solution. They are bundled on board "special flights" and forced to return to a country that has not been their home for years.
RUSSIA - cinema review
Tomorrow - admission free
directed by Andrej Grjazev. Russia, 2012 (100 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Introduced by Andrea Pipino (Internazionale).
Voina (War), a collective of Russian artists, is the most interesting and provocational phenomenon in contemporary Russian art today. Its founders, Vor and Koza, live a clandestine existence together with their child aged one and a half. Their artistic performances denounce the police state in Russia and provoke the Kremlin with a powerful combination of irreverence, intelligence and effectiveness. Abroad the group's work has won the hearts of critics and gallery owners, but in Russia they are the victims of tough repression, risking incarceration, which is why they have become the symbol of resistance to Vladimir Putin's government. It is difficult to remain indifferent to their inventiveness or to the courage with which they live hand-to-mouth on a day-to-day basis in the hope of changing the situation in their country.