Octopus vs nanaUtolo  

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There was a recent showdown in Oscars documentaries between Colectiv and My Octopus Teacher. I rooted for Collective and it reminded me of a long running Italian TV series from my childhood, La Piovra. Caracatita a castigat si traducerea in romana pe FataCarte.

composite of Nanau and Tolontan on La Piovra / Caracatita / Octopus posterI probably wasn't the only one who hoped that the Colectiv (aka Collective) documentary would win. After all, it had a double nomination for both documentary and “international feature” and shared the highest IMDB rating among nominees with the winner, at 8.2 stars out of 10 (a significant difference in the number of voters, though). Now, you can argue that nobody cares to watch documentaries for Oscars, but personally, I’ve always tried to watch the foreign movies, and I have a 90% success rate, even when they included Middle-Eastern fare.

La Piovra was a shitty TV series featuring a dude who looked like a bull or a proto-Klingon; he had what I’d call “frunte boltita” which reminded me of a bull/sperm whale or someone being accustomed to open doors with their forehead. I watched it mostly waiting for him to headbutt some shorter fellow and then see the unlucky lad die in seizures. But FWIW, this series was tremendously successful and a major export of Italian TV and it ran for 20 years with high ratings. And though I credit the main character’s physique for part of its success, one has to acknowledge that corruption, its theme, is also important.

I have tried in the past to discuss corruption on this blog (it even has its own category or label, justitie-coruptie). In short, I see two main types of corruption: “the little / mica”, endemic in low-income countries, which includes bribing cops, doctors and teachers to do their jobs, the “the great / marea” which typically involves corporations pouring money on politicians to tilt the system in their favour. Examples for the latter here in Canada include the Airbus Affair and the SNC Lavalin Affair. The Bryant-Sheppard killing and We scandal are left for the reader to categorize.

My view is that the little corruption gets resolved or diminishes with progress (as societies enrich themselves), whereas the great corruption increases and becomes more pervasive with the same progress and can only be ameliorated by “transparency” measures, which seek to bring sunshine onto government procurement practices. Romania is still transitioning from the former to the latter. You might not care much about my views, but it’s worth remembering the lyrics last heard before the fire started (from Goodbye to Gravity – The Day We Die):

Fuck all your wicked corruption
It's been there since our inception, but we couldn't see
All the times we've felt so hollow
As our hopes were hanged in gallows
All this time we've been locked away
And there was nothing left to say
Until today

We're not numbers we're free, we're so alive (so alive)
'Cause the day we give in is the day we die (the day we die)

What is interesting about the Colectiv tragedy is that it started as a “little” corruption consequence and then it became more and more a great/mid corruption scandal, through the work of Tolo & comp. The “system” fought back through Mircea Badea at “Antene” and Firea (everywhere and there as well), with some success, claiming that all these revelations don’t do anything but erode trust in the healthcare system.

There have been many critics of the Colectiv documentary or Tolo’s work, and I won’t get into that. What I find interesting is that with all its warts and misses, I still think that Nanau’s work was more worthy of an Oscar, and that’s because it’s an honest (even though possibly flawed) effort, following a real tragedy, whereas the winner is a manufactured editing opera that’s hard to watch if you actually want to learn something about the world and care about what’s “real” / “genuine” vs what’s staged. I admit I only watched the first 20 minutes or so, chock-full of the author’s looks in his youth, him swimming like siren, his family. Really nice, good looking shots, great cinematography. In comparison, Nanau’s documentary is like a black & white newspaper article – imagery is seldom important, it’s mostly mundane.

But even without the unworldly beauty of “The Abyss” (which, BTW, was a Cameron movie that came out in the year of the “Revolution”; call it Grand Bleu if your French is better than your English and/or prefer the earlier Luc Besson), Colectiv grabs you and shakes you and forces you to think about the “great burnts” and “great corruption” and whether “great journalism” is a thing.

Sources / More info: w-piovra, imdb-piovra, US Piovra: amzn.to/2Ps7lfv, CA Piovra: amzn.to/32Uwa6Q, imdb-colectiv, imdb-octchr, US Colectiv: amzn.to/3dZ7tg9, CA Colectiv: amzn.to/3aMpYCt

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Wednesday, April 28, 2021 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
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