×

Udine Festival Puts China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Spotlight

China’s Belt and Road Initiative comes under the spotlight at this year’s Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy. A documentary film by an Italian journalist Pio d’Emilia will tackle the controversial subject and make its international festival premiere on Friday.

The premiere of “Yi Dai Yi Lu One Belt One Road” comes just a little over a month after Italy—the first G7 country and the third largest euro-zone economy—signed a deal to join China’s ambitious plan to revive the historical Silk Road trade route connecting the Middle Kingdom and the West.

More than 60 countries have already signed up. But Italy’s gesture, made in March when China’s President Xi Jinping visited, was interpreted as a warning sign to other Western powers.

A post-screening discussion will discuss whether the BRI should be seen as a threat or an opportunity. d’Emilia, will be on the panel with Michele Geraci, undersecretary for Economic Development, one of the keenest supporters of China in the Italian political firmament. Representatives of Italy’s commercial sector, will include Michelangelo Agrusti, president of the Pordenone Industrial Union, and Giovanni Da Pozzo, president of the Pordenone and Udine Chamber of Commerce.

The film follows d’Emilia’s journey along a railway route transporting bulk Chinese goods from Sichuan to Italy. He encounters the Chinese people along the route and examines the BRI’s impact on them. The film also includes views from the Italian political and business sectors.

Writing recently on the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan website, d’Emilia suggested that within China, economic and cultural power is considered as more effective than democracy at cementing the Communist Party’s authority and rule.

“Instead of feeding a desire for democracy and undermining the establishment, (economic power) cements the support for the regime, (and is) perceived as the source of security, stability, order and growth,” he wrote.

In the U.S. and parts of West Europe, the BRI’s cheap loans for infrastructure building projects are regarded as both a means of creating fealty to China and possibly causing a debt burden that threatens a country’s economic stability.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Korea Box Office: 'Maleficent 2' Debuts on Top, Deposes 'Joker'

    Given a Thursday opening, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. The Walt Disney release earned $4.56 million from 612,000 admissions over four days. The fantasy adventure film accounted for 37% of total weekend box office in the country. “Joker” slipped to second after remaining on top for two [...]

  • Inside an Inox Leisure multiplex in

    India's Inox Multiplex Chain Reveals Ambitious Growth Plans

    Indian multiplex chain Inox Leisure has revealed ambitious plans to more than double its existing screen capacity of 600. The company is planning to add 900 more screens across the country over the next decade. “That’s the realistic answer, but my desire is to do it over the next five years,” Siddharth Jain, director, Inox [...]

  • Joker

    Why 'Joker' Is About All of Us (Column)

    Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content