Sabina Guzzanti: from TV satire to political documentary

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Sabina Guzzanti came to international attention following the cancellation by the Italian state broadcaster Rai of her satirical TV programme Raiot. Armi di distrazione di massa/Raiot. Weapons of Mass Distraction in 2003, which caused a stir amongst the Italian and international media alike (Boria 2009; Rothenberg 2009). Her documentary Viva Zapatero! (2005), based on her censorship case, became a box-office success and introduced her to an international audience. I discuss Guzzanti's one feature film and her three documentaries to date. I argue that the gradual radicalization of Guzzanti's recent work is only partly a consequence of the ostracism she faced. It is also part of a wider positioning of the artist's persona as an embodiment of anti-Berlusconian values, and her activity is organized and promoted as a militant act of counter-information. Guzzanti's films are quintessentially ‘social texts’ (Allen 1997) as they originate from an osmotic process between events, their representations and a ‘politicised fandom’ (O'Leary 2010). Their strong stance voices the ideas and the frustrations of a well-educated politicized audience, whose space in the public arena has been gradually eroded by the prevailing neocon discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2012


  • Sabina Guzzanti
  • audience
  • censorship
  • documentary
  • humour
  • satire


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