Italy’s first interracial romancer “Bianco e nero” (Black and White) has stirred a charged polemic over product placement policies by Italo fashion labels.
At issue is the labels’ declining to have the pic’s black protags plug their threads onscreen while eagerly dressing their white co-stars to the nines.
“It became immediately clear that, while many products and labels wanted to be displayed in our film, they also intended to stay away from scenes featuring the black actors,” producer Riccardo Tozzi lamented alongside “Black and White” helmer Cristina Comencini at the pic’s Jan. 7 Rome presser.
Marketing firm Propaganda GEM, which placed goods in the pic, says it was more a matter of marketability than race.
“It had nothing to do with skin color, simply with star power,” says spokeswoman Marina Marzotto. “Unlike the U.S. and France, Italy doesn’t have black actors with a big following.”
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Paradoxically, though, the black thesps in “Black and White” — Aissa Maiga, nommed for a Cesar last year for “Bamako,” and Eriq Ebouaney (“Kingdom of Heaven”), both African-born and Paris-based — have way more international cachet than their white Italo co-stars, Fabio Volo and Ambra Angiolini.