The news that Rome Film Festival will be concentrating its efforts on promoting Italian cinema rather than the careers of foreign actors would probably have been greeted with greater enthusiasm if it had come from a liberal mayor. The fact that the decision has been made by Alemanno has led to a rather more – how shall I put this – strident, even hysterical, reaction. Particularly outside Italy, where The Times of Rupert Murdoch, in pot-to-kettle fashion, refers to the new mayor as il Duce. That’s as may be. Though it’s odd that the spots of hard left leopards seem to wash off with no trouble at all, aided perhaps by a gentle shower of clerical rain, while those adoring the hard right are considered to be as permanent and indelible as Indian ink.

Personally, I’d be happy to see a little more attention being given to an industry that still manages to produce worthwhile cinema – Crialese, Moretti, Soldini, to cite three very different directors – despite the massive attention given by the media and distributors to foreign (read, US) movies. Maybe a little autochthony will do us all good. It will also be refreshing to see less of Walter Veltroni fawning over Hollywood starlets as though they were envoys from the planet Beautiful.

Is this the beginning of the backlash?

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