Girlfriend in a Coma (2012) TV


Today’s economic plight of Italy pointed at handby Dante’s Commedia read by Benedict, interviews and animations.

Girlfriend in a Coma is a 2012 documentary, first broadcast on 26 of November in England. The film is based on Bill Emmont’s book Good Italy, Bad Italy: Why Italy Needs To Conquer Its Demons to Face The Future, the title of the movie derives from the eponymous hit by The Smith (from their album Strangeways).

In a highly acclaimed mix of animation, interviews and hard facts, Emmont’s documentary shows his emotional connection to Italy, his “girlfriend, so often drives him mad” and the current economic state of coma in Italy. Excerpts from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (orig. Commedia, later Divina Commedia) – read by Benedict Cumberbatch – illustrate the virtues and vices of Italy, make a connection of the current plight to the ones seven centuries ago and put them into context with Italian history and culture. The animations of the Nairobi-born and London-based artist Phoebe Boswell run like a common thread trough the whole film. In Italy, the planned premiere at the MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts) in Rome was boycotted by Giovanna Melandri, Foundation President of the Museum. According to her, showing this documentary about the economic chaos in Italy exactly during a current election campaign seemed to be no good idea.

According to this declining the premiere an amazing viral phenomena started.

The cancellation was tweeted. Bill Emmott afterwards gave an interview to The Guardian accusing the Italian government of censorship. Stefano Corradino, Chief of the website Articolo 21 (referring to Article 21 of the Italian Constitution: Everyone has the right to express one’s thoughts freely by word, in writing or any other means of distribution.) launched a petition requesting Melandri to reconsider her decision. More than 30,000 people signed this petition. But Melandri did not pull back her cancellation. Therefore, Girlfriend in a Coma had its premiere at the Teatro Eliseo in Rome on 13th of February 2013.

By then, the film has become a central core of a social media campaign. Fans, followers and all those who want to change something in Italy (#wakeitalyup) as well as national and international organizations seeking a change and modernization of todays Italy come together along this campaign.

Annalisa Piras

Bill Emmott
Annalisa Piras

seen in interviews :
Benedict reads parts from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy
Bill Emmott (in person as well as archive footage)
Giuliano Amato (in person)
Silvio Berlusconi (in personl and archive footage)
Umberto Eco (in person)
Hugh Grant (archive footage)
Mario Monti (in person)
Angela Merkel (in person)
Saddam Hussein (archived material, without naming!)
Sophia Loren (archived material without mention)
and Anna Magnani (as Maddalena Cecconi, archive footage), Marcello Mastroianni (as Augusto Rusconi, archived material) and others.

More information:
The official trailer of the film:


The official Website:
The official Facebook site:
You can order the film also on Amazon
Bill Emmotts book is available as hardcover as well as Kindle Edition on Amazon

Image Credit: