Francesca approved for Italian distribution

By Iulia Blaga
    The Civil Court of Rome has rejected the request by Alessandra Mussolini to ban Bobby Păunescu's film Francesca in Italy.

    The film will open in Italy on November 27, distributed by Fandango (www.fandango.it).

    "The court's motivation is right: the incriminated phrase has no offensive value whatsoever given the context," the manager of Fandango, Domenico Procacci, told the Italian press. Writer/director Păunescu told FNE that his intention with this movie wasn't to criticise, and offend anyone, or to make the Romanians look good and the Italians to look bad, but simply to be honest about reality.

    Alessandra Mussolini, the grandaughter of Benito Mussolini, was offended after the film's world premiere at Venice IFF by the fact that in the film she is called "a whore who wants to kill all Romanians."

    Before the Civil Court of Rome announced its decision, another deputy, Aldo di Biaggio, asked the Berlusconi government to take action against the Romanian film and other future films by a law that will state the limits of free expression. Another deputy, Barbara Saltamartini, showed her solidarity with Alessandra Mussolini, urging people not to go see the film.

    Francesca shows the last days of a young Romanian teacher before deciding whether to stay or to leave for a presumably better life in Italy. The incriminating phrase is said at the beginning of the film by the father of the heroine, who unhappy that his daughter might leave.

    As the director points out, "The film is not offensive to a certain person but to the idea of racism". Francesca was produced by Cristi Puiu and Păunescu with Mandragora Movies (www.mandragora.ro), and is sold internationally by Mandragora Movies. Alessandra Mussolini can appeal for the elimination of that phrase, but not a ban of the entire film.