For the worldwide movie business, Pietrangelo Buttafuoco, the person nominated to take over as the subsequent president of the Venice Biennale, the inspiration that oversees the Venice Movie Competition, is a little bit of an unknown. Not so in Italy, the place Buttafuoco is among the most outstanding voices of Italy’s new right-wing, which has seen political success within the election final yr of Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Fratelli d’Italia occasion.
The 60-year author and journalist was actually born into the Italian proper — his uncle was the extreme-right politician Antonino Buttafuoco —and for many years, as a journalist, novelist and tv commenter, has been one of many right-wing’s prime promoters. He wrote a glowing biography of late Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was obsessive about what he noticed because the hegemony of “the communists” in Italian cultural establishments. In a latest radio broadcast, he mentioned he says a prayer each morning for Meloni “that she’s going to make it.”
Within the Italian media, Buttafuoco’s Biennale appointment is seen as the most recent transfer by Meloni and her Fratelli d’Italia occasion to exert management over Italy’s tradition business. The federal government pushed by a legislation outing the extra left-wing administration of the Centro Sperimentale, the nation’s primary movie public college, and giving Italian ministries extra energy over appointing members to its advisory board. Meloni supporters backed the appointment of right-wing journalists Alessandro Giuli and Mauro Mazza to administration positions at key cultural establishments. Giuli is the brand new director of Fondazione MAXXI, which manages Italy’s nationwide museum for modern artwork and structure. Mazza was named the “extraordinary commissioner” to steer the delegation to the 2024 Frankfurt E-book Honest, the place Italy would be the nation of honor. The federal government can also be trying to put its folks in key positions at Rai, Italy’s public broadcaster.
Buttafuoco has cultural administration expertise —he’s president of the Teatro Sabile in Abruzzo and used to run the Teatro Stabile in Catania—however Lido insiders fear he could attempt to use his new place on the Biennale to push the Venice Movie Competition in a extra right-wing pleasant path.
“One other glass ceiling has been damaged,” mentioned Raffaele Speranzon, deputy group chief of Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia occasion, talking to the La Stampa newspaper. “Typically, the left has thought of the Biennale Basis its personal private fiefdom wherein to put pals and acolytes. Buttafuoco, lastly, affirms a change that the Meloni authorities needs to imprint in each cultural and social heart of the nation: [Only appointing] folks primarily based on their depth, competence, and authority.”
Rachele Scarpa, a neighborhood center-left politician, mentioned Speranzon’s feedback had been “a chilling imaginative and prescient of how the suitable conceives the cultural establishments of our nation.” She added: “What’s most alarming is that he calls into query the work of an establishment, resembling La Biennale, whose sole goal should be to care for its exhibitions and definitely to not make the Fratelli d’Italia completely happy.”
La Stampa reported that Buttafuoco posted the phrase “Me Ne Frego,” (I don’t care), a well-liked slogan with Italian fascist teams, in his WhatsApp profile. He has had shut connections with the neo-fascist group, having beforehand been a member of the central committee of the Italian Social Motion – Nationwide Proper and the nationwide meeting of the Nationwide Alliance, two far-right political teams.
However Buttafuoco’s exact politics are usually not really easy to pin down.
One of the crucial well-known details about Buttafuoco is his resolution to transform to Islam. In 2015 Meloni herself blocked Buttafuoco’s candidacy to develop into governor of Sicily, citing his conversion as the rationale. “Everyone seems to be free to follow the faith they need however I consider that in present occasions, Italy and Europe should declare their Greek, Roman and Christian origins within the face of those that wish to wipe them out,” she mentioned.
Italian undersecretary of tradition Vittorio Sgarbi, in distinction, has referred to as Buttafuoco’s Muslim religion “a assure of originality” and dialog in his new job operating the Biennale.
In 1999, when requested immediately by Italian political thinker Norberto Bobbio if he was a fascist, Buttafuoco’s replied: “I’m not a fascist. I’m one thing else.”
What that “one thing else” will imply for the Venice Movie Competition stays an open query.