By Apurav Maggu:
How do great cities die? Corporatocracy, corruption, crony capitalism, sloth, no civil vigilantism, lack of political consensus, religion and Mafiosi could probably be the reasons on the top of the head. But, what if a city becomes a product of all the reasons and all the reasons coalesce into the decline of a great city?
Italy’s decline is a staggering tale of corrupt leadership and political-mafia-bureaucrat nexus which have completely destroyed the social and political setup of a state.
Italy has been the worst performing state in the European Union. With its debt spiraling out of hand in the current Eurozone debt crisis, the country is now faced with having to make hard choices about its future. This documentary is a delightful and insightful take on the socio-political-cultural and economic decline of a nation.
Bill Emmott, who has also written this book, takes a chilling take on the state of affairs from the eyes of a British-Italian immigrant who left Italy for good economic opportunities abroad, only to come back 20 years later to witness the state of affairs in his native land.
This cultural masterpiece of a documentary crisscrosses between the theme of the narrator’s visual realization, of the decaying and sloth that has set in its nation and a superb cartoonish imagery of Dante Aligheiri’s Italy and what inferno it presents, or, now has become for its people (bad Italy) and a dualism it represents for the narrator’s illusion of Italy (Good Italy) which, he, in a grandeur manner, calls his girlfriend.
Narrated by Bill Emmott and Benedict Cumberbatch (of Sherlock fame) as the voiceover for Dante’s Italy, the documentary witnesses a political class which refuses to accept any wrongdoings on its part. The people, who have acquiesced to a corrupt leadership (in this case, Silvio Berlusconi), religion (the Vatican) which undermines the judicial structure of the state, a mafia which has suppressed the legal system and a leader who is so tied to its seat that his actions (the wild Bunga-Bunga parties) now don’t even invite criticism at home.
Performing worst on various indexes which measure a nation’s path to progress, Italy could be fine e.g. for any state where hubris of ‘being developed’ and zero accountability and transparency could have a debilitating effect on the nation so much so that, even the people lose faith in their nativity.
It’s a mixture of realism, with the cities’ grandeur and pessimism with Michael Moore’s style and a dash of Dante’s vision. This documentary is superb and extraordinary, a visual delight.