Il gioiellino, The little Gem, Parmalat SpA

by Marianne Wi

Parmalat, the Italian milk scandal is coming out.

Andrea Molaidi has directed and co-written this film based on the great scandal of Parmalat SpA Italy, it still holds the dubious record of being the biggest bankruptcy ever seen in Europe with a debt of 14.3 bn, also known as Europe’s Enron. That is a lot of money in anyone’s book, the problem here was that in this case the value featured in their accounts Balance sheet was showing less than 1.75 bn, some difference.

One day in early 2000 some bright spark queried the fact that as there were billions showing in the bank, why did Parmalat not pay of some of their debts? Good question I think you will agree, the answer among others were “The bank accounts did not exist “clear case of  fraud and criminal conspiracy.

Investors; there were a 100,000 individual investments in Grade Corporate Bonds, all saw their money wiped out overnight and never recovered a penny or should that be lira.

In December 2010 Ernesto Fausto was sentenced to 14 years and Calisto Tanzi the original founder ( he was 22 in 1961 when he started his first pasteurizing plant Parmalat in the small village of Parma ) to 18 years, having admitted to money laundering among other accountancy faux pas. Don’t worry though as both have appealed and as it can take many years for a case to come back to court . Tanzi , who is now 72 will never see the inside of a jail, if he did he would certainly not be short of money to purchase benefits,  as is custom in Italian prisons .

Interview with Toni Servillo in Italian, just for you.

Cast:  Toni Servillo, Remo Girone, Sarah Felberbaum, Lino Guanciale, Fausto Maria Sciarappa, VanessaCompagnucci, Lisa Galantini

Director: This is Andrea Molaidi’s second feature film; being released in Italy on the 4th March 2011, I am expecting this film to attract a lot of interest worldwide so please proceed with due care and attention when adding subtitles….

Who can forget the Film La Ragazza del lago,  The Girl by the Lake released in  2007, it opened in cinemas worldwide with great success , in Italy it grossed less than 2.3 million. Molaidi is very much a case of better known away, than at home.

This time Molaidi has teamed up with Gabriele Romagndi (mainly known for TV work) and Ludovica Rampoldi with whom he also worked with on The Girl by the Lake. Rampoldi also wrote the screenplay for The Double hour, La doppia ora.

This film centres on the human aspect of this scandal; it is not a documentary or an investigation as such more a news story and an apologue a story about Italians amoral familism ( Tutte bene, everything’s fine ) however also a story of unscrupulous greed based on Western management values.

Parmalat is still going strong today, producing dairy products and fruit juices under many different names; Lactis, Santal, Malu and Kyr to name a few.

The names of the protagonists have been changed too  i.e.  Calisto Tanzi became Amanzio Rastelli played by Remo Girone; Fausto Tonna his right hand man became Ernesto Botta played by Toni Servillo, why the need for this cloak and dagger stuff? Chaps this is Italy for you, I guess as the case against  Tanzi and Tonna is now  being appealed , there may be legal reasons for this.

Toni Servillo is Italy’s contemporary top male actor although not in the handsome category , often playing unpleasant and seedy roles, we saw him in  IL divo, Gorbaciof, A quiet live, The consequences of Love and Gomorra the list is long ,very long and he is not letting us down in this film either. The storyline did drag on occasions, I do not think that will deter the public outside Italy.


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