It was to have premièred before a select audience of journalists and politicians in Rome's celebrated MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art, but now Girlfriend In A Coma has been put back on the shelf until after Italy's elections on the 24th of this month. The film, which examines the political career of Silvio Berlusconi, has apparently raised concerns in the Italian Ministry of Culture. Could it unfairly bias a vote in which Mr Berlusconi is a candidate? That's anyone's guess, because according to its co-director Bill Emmott, nobody - including staff at the ministry - has yet seen it.
"Too many Italians, which especially means those in politics and in official public positions, do not want to confront and understand the truth and reality of what has happened in Italy over the past 20 years," Emmott said in a statement on his website. Arguing that an incident like this would not have occurred in any other European democracy, he described his film as an independent attempt to provoke a necessary debate. "If the right time to provoke that debate, in the capital of Italy, is not an election campaign, then I don’t know what is the right time."
The ministry denies involvement in the decision taken by the MAXXI foundation, which it describes as a private institution.