Videocracy: Interview with Erik Gandini
Television has been blamed for the dumbing down of the American public since the ascendance of the boob tube in the 1950s. But in Italy, where scandal-plagued prime minister Silvio Berlusconi controls the flow of information through his monopolistic holdings in that nation’s biggest media conglomerates, there is a more insidious aspect to the chronic press muzzling at RAI and trashy tits-and-ass programming that predominate on his Mediaset channels. If you want to get a sense of how the billionaire entrepreneur’s televisual imagination has transformed the political and mass-media landscape in Italy, Erik Gandini’s cunningly choreographed documentary Videocracy provides plenty of food for thought, taking a gimlet-eyed view of the Berlusconi phenomenon. But instead of stampeding into this tangle of cultural conflict with rhetorical guns a-blazing, Gandini, an Italian-born filmmaker based in Sweden (Gitmo: The New Rules of War), adopts a far subtler, more intriguingly first-person approach.