Amnesty International described the incident as “the most serious suspension of democratic rights in a western country since the Second World War”; after watching ‘Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood’ it was hard to disagree.
Directed by Daniele Vicari (‘The Human Cargo’), ‘Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood’ is a shockingly brutal film about what happened when 300 Italian police raided a school in Genoa during the G8 protests in 2001.
The film’s opening sequence is of a glass bottle smashing on the ground. It’s shot in reverse order and is in super slow motion and it’s not until half way through the film that the true meaning of the scene is understood. ‘All this because of one bottle’ - says one of the police officers during the movie.
The tension in Vicari’s film is as close to tangible as anyone is likely to get using the medium of cinema and the build up to the raid on the Diaz School is full of fear, panic and utter helplessness.
Despite the movie’s obvious focus on the violence used by the police on unarmed protestors, civilians and journalists, Vicari has made a beautiful film - some of the photography on show throughout is simply breathtaking.
When the raid on the Diaz School eventually does takes place, it’s almost impossible not to empathise with the protestors and feel some sort of disgust or anger with the authorities.
There can be no getting away from the fact that there was an element of people prepared to use violence when protesting on the streets of Genoa in 2001 but the way in which the police reacted was nothing short of brutal and disproportionate.
Innocent men and women were left with permanent physical and mental scars as a result and despite the fact the actions of the police have since been subject countless court cases, many of those affected by their brutality are still waiting for justice.
The raid scene and the subsequent actions of the police on the detained protestors is not for the faint hearted but the you are left with no choice - you must watch.
The reason so many people love cinema is because of its ability to evoke all kinds of emotions and Vicari’s movie does just that.
Anger, fear, sadness, sympathy, pity and fury are all experienced throughout Vicari’s film and this is testament to just how powerful and significant a piece of cinema it is.
The film documents several accounts of those affected by the raid and is relayed in German, Spanish, English and Italian.
You’d think a film using so many different languages would be difficult to follow but this is not the case.
Vicari and producer, Domenico Procacci (‘Gomorrah’) have pulled off a tremendous job of documenting the story in such accessible detail.
Vicari’s shining star is the raid and although there are several stories throughout the film I couldn’t help feeling that I would liked to have known more about many of the main characters.
I also found the constant toing and froing between before, during and after the raid a little fragmented but it didn’t take anything away from the ferocity of Vicari’s message.
‘Diaz: Don’t Clean This Blood Up’ is available on DVD and Blu-Ray and can be purchased online.
VERDICT: 4/5 - A shocking but awesome account of what happened when 300 Italian police attacked 90 protestors in a school during the 2001 G8 protests in Genoa. It’s a tour de force of a film from Italian born director Daniele Vicari. Although it’s a live wire of a film filled to the brim with violence and brutal humiliation, Vicari succeeds in making a beautiful piece of cinema with a strong and important message. Awesome from start to finish.