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Forbidden Grass (Everything you wanted to know about cannabis but they never told you)

A rare case of an Italian documentary released theatrically, "Forbidden Grass" hits theaters as national debate intensifies around the therapeutic uses of marijuana. More interesting for its content than for its workmanlike assembly, the anti-prohibitionist tract takes in many aspects of the 70-year battle to legalize cannabis.

A rare case of an Italian documentary released theatrically (despite right-wing politicos’ attempts to have it withdrawn), “Forbidden Grass” hits theaters as national debate intensifies around the therapeutic uses of marijuana. More interesting for its content than for its workmanlike assembly, the anti-prohibitionist tract takes in many aspects of the 70-year battle to legalize cannabis, intercutting interviews, historical and medical info, and little-known facts with concert footage of Italian bands performing songs inspired by the weed. Local potheads will constitute the main audience, but foreign-language TV and docufests could also be receptive.

Standup comic Paolo Rossi serves as a guide, posing frequently asked questions and voicing common misconceptions that are explained or debunked by interview subjects. These include Nobel laureate Dario Fo and maverick politician Marco Pannella, the latter long active on the anti-prohibition front both personally and through the Radical Party. While some funky graphics might have helped distinguish it from standard TV reportage, the docu remains absorbing and informative as it advocates individual rights.

Forbidden Grass (Everything you wanted to know about cannabis but they never told you)

Italy

  • Production: A Lucky Red Distribuzione release of an Andrea Occhipinti, Daniele Mazzocca, Cristiano Bortone presentation of an Orisa production. Produced, conceived by Daniele Mazzocca, Cristiano Bortone. Directed by Alberto Amato, Cristiano Bortone, Georges Bottos, Candida TV, Renato Ciunfrini, Vincenzo Cusumano, Nicola Condemi, Roberto De Franceschi, Juan Gambino, Davide Gaudenzi, Francesco Menghini, Daniele Mazzocca, Arturo Menichetti, Aliocha Merker, Giandomenico Michilin, Marco Onorato, Gianni Russo, Vauro, Guido Votano.
  • Crew: Camera (color), various; editor, Juan Gambino; music, 99 Posse, Tiromancino, Pitura Freska, Articolo 31, Reggae National Tickets, Radici nel Cemento, Frankie HI-NRG, Sud Sound System. Reviewed at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, May 2, 2002. Running time: 94 MIN.
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