Alessandra Mussolini threatens Romanian filmmakers
Il Duce’s granddaughter has threatened the distributors of ‘Francesca’ with legal action, over a reference to that ‘Mussolini whore’
A Romanian film which was premiered at the Venice Film Festival last week has been pulled from public screening after Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, threatened its distributors with legal action.
The 46-year-old MP, who holds a seat in the Italian parliament for Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, took umbrage at a line in the film, Francesca, which talks about that "Mussolini whore" who wants all Romanians to be killed. The line is a reference to Mussolini's notorious outburst in 2007 when she called all Romanians "criminals".
Mussolini demanded that the distribution company, Fandango, cut the offending dialogue from the film or else face having it banned throughout Italy. Fandango announced today that it was cancelling all public screenings pending a court order rather than make the cut because it wanted to protect the film's "artistic integrity". Mussolini's line is: "Its tone is unacceptable, even if it's art."
Francesca, written, directed and produced by Romanian Bobby Paunescu, tells the story of a teacher from Bucharest who wants to emigrate to Italy. The line about Alessandra Mussolini is spoken by an elderly relative of the main character who tells her not to go.
Paunescu is robustly defending his directorial debut, calling it a "critique" of how Romanians and other ethnic groups are treated in modern Italy. He has branded Mussolini's actions "intimidating", and warned of the dangers of censoring films that tackle contemporary and controversial issues.
The film, which is in competition for the Orrizonti award, second only to the Golden Lion at Venice, "is not an attack on anyone,” Paunescu told the Independent. "I'm trying to highlight the prejudices. I think the film creates a valid debate." ·
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