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‘Bella’ looks good in Cannes

Story of tragedy at G8 summit banned from Italo screens

Producer Carlo Freccero says documentary “Bella Ciao” has found “asylum” at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was shown Saturday at a Critics Week special screening.

The docu on the July 2001 G8 summit has been effectively banned in Italy and, although it’s film from pubcaster RAI, it will probably never be shown on television there.

When RAI Due cameraman Roberto Torelli showed up in Genoa to shoot footage of the summit for “Stra-Cult” — a rock ‘n’ roll youth culture show — he thought he’d be shooting Manu Chau or the young leaders of the Genoa Social Forum, an anti-globalization group.

Little did he know that by the end of the week he’d have some of the most incendiary footage in Italy.

When the tide turned from political debate to tragedy after police stormed the Forum media center and a young demonstrator was killed, Torelli and partner Marco Giusti decided to reconstruct the summit events by collecting footage from other sources.

From 100 hours of footage, they assembled “Bella Ciao.”

The problem was they had no place in Italy to show it. The broadcast of the “Sta-Cult” G8 summit special was suspended. The Venice Film Fest, according to Torelli, didn’t want anything on Genoa.

When the new RAI board took over control of the station in March, Freccero was “sidelined.” He presently collects a handsome RAI salary not to produce for them.

According to Freccero, television in Italy is censored, perhaps not blatantly by the government, but by the producers who self-censor themselves.

“There’s more freedom in cinema,” he says, but Torelli scoffs off his remark and shakes his head.

“After a long, dry spell there’s the beginning of a renovation in Italian cinema,” opines Freccero. “With the new wave of young energetic directors like Marco Ponti and Gabriele Muccino, maybe there’s a ray of hope.”