Rome IFF: 8, a film on the UN abandoned by the UN

Article published on Oct. 27, 2008
Article published on Oct. 27, 2008
Gael García Bernal, Jane Campion, Jan Kounen, Mira Nair, Gaspar Noé, Abderrahmane Sissako, Wim Wenders and Gus Van Sant all made short films for 8, which screened Thursday in Official Selection – Cinema 2008 at the Rome Film Festival.

Shot in the US, Australia and Africa, the collective film expresses the directors' various points of view on the eight Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 by the United Nations (that include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, combating AIDS and promoting gender equality and none of which have been achieved yet) and is reminiscent of another omnibus film, 11'09'01 September 11 [trailer] (2002), made after the 9/11 attacks, which sparked some controversy at the time.

Controversy that seems to repeating here as well, and about the UN itself, accused by the French producers of 8 of having boycotted the film. "During shooting,” Marc Oberon told the press, “they saw Mira Nair’s episode and said it was an insult to Islam. They asked us to cut it but we wouldn’t. We know that they even tried to convince the Cannes festival director not to take the film. But 8 is a piece of free artistic expression, it is not a film made to order”.

Based on a true story, the episode by the Indian director depicts a Muslim woman leaving her husband and son, and a normal life in New York, to become the second wife of a traditional man and wear a veil.

Wenders’ episode closes the project and deals with the most important objective: to create a global partnership for development. Starting with images of riots at the 2007 G8 summit in Germany, the director focuses his attentions on a group of journalists editing their coverage of the event in the control room of a television station.

Camillo de Marco