Nick Schager Reviews Videocracy

A stylized, scattershot inquiry into Italy’s TV-dominated culture, Videocracy is a portrait of 21st-century media fascism, right down to the country’s renowned small-screen agent Lele Mora espousing his fondness for Mussolini and then playing a clip of the dictator’s hymns on his cell phone, swastika imagery included. Writer-director Erik Gandini’s documentary operates from the thesis that President Silvio Berlusconi, who controls 90 percent of the country’s broadcast media, has created a corrosive Fourth Reich culture that champions fame as the ultimate ideal. With television dominated by reality shows that offer average citizens a shot at superstardom, Italy is a society in thrall to the spotlight. It’s a place where every street corner has a guy like Ricky, a mechanic who aspires to be a combination of Ricky Martin and Jean-Claude Van Damme, and every shopping mall features hordes of young women demeaning themselves by posing and shaking their asses in the hopes of being a TV talk show host assistant known as a “veline.”

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