Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tribeca 10: Euro politics: the Docs.

Unless there are elections or major riots, the politics of Western Europe are generally ignored, which is a pity, that bunch over there makes us appreciate the morons we have over here all the more.....

Viva Zapatero!
(Italy) - New York Premiere.

a documentary written and
directed by Sabina Guzzanti

Imagine if the Bush administration ordered Comedy Central to fire Jon Stewart, and then all of a sudden every major newspaper in the country began to attack the “Daily Show” for not being respectful enough to George and Dick. Satire having to be sweet and all….

Well that actually happened to comedienne Sabina Guzzanti, and as one might expect, she’s ticked off big time.

In 2003, the premier of her satirical TV show “RAIot” [the network’s called RAI, get it?] went after the premier of the country, one Silvio Berlusconi, who owns the media. I’m not kidding, he really owns the media. He was ticked off and Sabina was outta there. So were some of the top journalists in Italy, and Freedom House, which keeps track of that sort of thing, is about to kick Italy out of the free world and reclassify it.

In order to get revenge and pubiicize her cause, she goes on pretty much every TV station in Western Europe, doing schtick and interviews for this very doc. She also managed to get all sorts of sketches from satirical shows from Britian, France and the Netherlands, and those are really vicious.

This film is both funny and horrifying. It reminds us how fragile our freedoms are and how important humor can be. This is a must…oh yeah, you may be wondering who the heck Zapatero is, he’s the prime minister of Spain. Why his name is in the title is unclear.

The Case of the Grinning Cat

Written and Directed
by Chris Marker

This isn’t exactly a documentary, this is more of an illustrated essay. Sometime around the turn of the millennium, a graffiti artist started painting pictures of a certain cartoon cat all over the city of Paris. Who created this new mascot of the city of light? Why did it get so popular?

Maker, who’s been doing this sort of thing for years and years, tries to find out. This is gonna be fun.

So what we have is a lighthearted tour of Gay (in the original definition) Paree during the first half of the ‘00z, starting with a flash-mob just after the 9/11 attacks. Above the crowd is that cartoon cat, painted on a building, and soon, there are smiling cats painted everywhere. Who originated this? Marker either doesn’t know or isn’t telling, but he goes on a search, and wherever he goes, the cat precedes him. In the Metro, the sewers, buildings large and small, even the occasional tree.

The cat turns up in the midst of the 2002 presidential election, where the left was so split that the self-proclaimed fascist candidate came in second. Then came the Iraq war, the cat was at the demonstrations. Then there were more marches prostesting pretty much everything, Where was the cat?

On TV, on the web, you name it, someone was putting that sucker on pretty much everything, with all unsigned with the exception of a © mark, but who owns the copyright?

Doesn’t matter, really. Long live the chat.


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