Italian culture czar shuns Cannes

Bondi irked by film critiquing Berlusconi government

Italian culture czar Sandro Bondi has announced that he will not attend the Cannes Film Festival, protesting the selection of “Draquila — Italy Trembles,” a Michael Moore-like docu by Italo multihyphenate Sabina Guzzanti exposing the dark side of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s earthquake relief efforts.

In a statement, Bondi said he was disconcerted about the inclusion of “Draquila” in the Cannes official selection, adding that the controversial pic, which will unspool out of competition, offends the truth and Italian people.

Federal efforts to intervene promptly and provide housing for thousands in the city of L’Aquila after the devastating April 2009 quake has been a big selling point for the Berlusconi government.

Bondi’s Cannes boycott drew plenty of fire over the weekend from Italy’s film community. The 95-year-old helmer Mario Monicelli blasted Bondi for behaving like a culture minister during the Fascist era.

News of Bondi’s boycott has reverberated outside the country, creating tensions with France. Former French culture minister Jack Lang called Bondi’s move childish and incomprehensible, saying that artistic freedom should always be respected.

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