Catalin Ivan thus underlined a serious event for the European culture: the censorship of Bobby Paunescu’s film „Francesca” , presented at the Venice International Film Festival. The Romanian director’s film, praised by critics, was banned from screening at the request of the Italian deputy Alessandra Mussolini and of the Verona Mayor Flavio Tosi, who were offended by several lines that referred to them.
„The Berlusconi administration has not reacted to this , which is unacceptable for an EU member state that is in the position of influencing community decisions and policies. This incident is not a reactivation of the Italian-Romanian issues, but a harsh limitation of the freedom of expression and a censorship of art,” Ivan explained.
In his opinion, „the film’s theme is not Italy or the Italian politicians who felt offended by it, but the experience of Romanians who live and work in Italy today.
The decision regarding this film is only an example of ‘counter values’ and practices Romania should have distanced itself from. A positive example in this respect is Sweden, which eliminated the cinematographic censorship institutions this year, as well as other democratic states, who made this step in the past.”
„The paradox is that a film clearly inspired by the Italian neo-realistic school – a very important school for the film art is censured precisely by Italy for its neo-realistic character. Banning this film won’t change the reality it shows just like banning the film „The Great Dictator” in Italy has not changed the reality of the 2nd WW.
We cannot expect to change the world if we alter the way in which it is reflected through culture,” Catalin Ivan pointed out.
Ivan asked the Commission for a stand on this matter and for a presentation of its pro-active actions meant to prevent similar situations in the future.