Published Jul 11, 2013In the opening scene of Daniele Vicari's bland, rather self-righteous re-enactment of the 2001 G8 Summit, a voiceover notes that this movement — the Genoa Group of 8 protest — is the first in history not to ask anything for itself. In addition to not being entirely accurate and evading the obvious notion of moral vanity and image projection as currency for children of the affluent, it also sets the tone for a very long, very heavy-handed bit of single-minded sanctimony and amusingly simplistic metaphors.
The titular "blood" belongs to the many protesters attacked at the Diaz-Pascoli and Diaz-Pertini schools, beaten by Roman mobile police units and subsequently tortured in detainment facilities on the evening of July 21, 2001. Vicari is attempting to recreate not only the actions of the event, but capture the sentiments and rage associated with it, reminding us of the evils conducted under the guise of maintaining social order.
In recreating the action of the event — the beatings, the humiliations and the granola-eating, acoustic guitar playing dynamic of the undergrads involved — she does a fair job. Unwashed hippies dance around in parking lots stoned before they get the crap kicked out of them in a rather brutal onslaught of constant violence filmed with in-the-moment urgency.
What isn't present is any sort of cinematic relevance — aside from the occasional expository speech planning a protest or crowd control strategy, there's little narrative holding this series of one-sided images together. The police are presented as villainous, one-note, evil ciphers and the many interchangeable, unkempt kids, and the occasional journalist or old person, blend together, leaving their peril more of a collective bit of anguish than any sort of specifically defined threat.
It limits appreciation to those already drawn to politically motivated material such as this, using the film merely as a soapbox for personal involvement in someone else's suffering. Acknowledging this event is valid in itself, but Vacari's inability to create any sort of thematic template beyond the surface ultimately reinforces the intense solipsism demonstrated by all involved, respectively reducing the opposing sides of ideology to a single signifier or impetus.
One of the only interesting things to occur throughout Diaz: Don't Clean Up This Blood is unintended irony. A protest coordinator suggests that the police presence is merely a method of antagonizing the protestors. This statement demonstrates the same amusing lack of self-awareness of moral preening the film represents, reducing itself to mere finger pointing and smugness without the emotional maturity to assess the self in relation to the bigger picture. (Mongrel Media)