Rome Film Festival No More?

Ostia Antica: Amphitheatre

In October, I blogged for mTrip about Rome in film because the 5th annual Roman Film Festival, Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma, was set to begin.  In the news today, it seems that Berlusconi’s new culture minister, Giancarlo Galan, feels otherwise, having stated in the Italian press (Il Corriere della Sera, Alemanno contro Galan: «Il Festival del Film di Roma non si tocca», 25 March 2011, Redazione online) that the Venice Film Festival is of greater importance.

This is just another example of the ineptitude of the Berlusconi government, appointing a minister of Culture who has no experience with “culture”.  Galan, according to Wikipedia, is a businessman who worked for Berlusconi’s Mediaset Empire, becoming director general of Pubblicità ’80 (another Berlusconi company).  He was also previously president of the Veneto Region of Italy so it is no surprise that he would come out in support for the Venice Festival (that, coincidentally enough, probably draws in millions of euro each year for his region).  You would think that a member of Parliament would serve the nation’s interests instead Galan’s narrower regional and business ties?  Alemanno says much of the same, arguing that the Minister is “riaprendo vecchi e superati contenziosi” (reopening old and out of date controversies) and ignoring the fact that the Rome festival is mostly supported by private funds.

The government’s lack of support for Rome’s film festival is troublesome, and the appointment of a politician who has little cultural experience is even more disheartening.  Galan has plenty to worry about, especially with news reports that parts of Pompeii are collapsing.  Anyone who has been to Italy can clearly see that many archaeological and cultural sites are in dire need of restoration and financial support.  Yet Berlusconi’s ministries continue to look more and more like boardrooms of his businesses instead of government agencies whose primary mission is to serve the people and patrimony of Italy, not the political schemings and ambitions of Silvio Berlusconi.