The Italian Almanac

Giovanna Mezzogiorno

Italian News / Movies - September 20

An Italian film which scooped a prize at the Venice Film Festival has come under fire from the anti-smoking lobby because of its cigarette-hooked cast. "La bestia nel cuore" (The Beast in the Heart) stars acclaimed Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno as chain-smoking Sabina, a woman whose happy existence is torn apart when buried memories of abuse return to haunt her.

Mezzogiorno's performance bagged her the top acting award for a woman at the Venice fest earlier this month. But consumer group Codacons was less impressed and has asked magistrates to investigate the Cristina Comencini-directed film for alleged "indirect advertising for smoking products.

"Too often directors opt to heighten moments of tension or unease with a cigarette. That's something we do not agree with because it is too simplistic and harmful," said Codacons President Marco Donzelli. "As for this film, it's excessive. The actors smoke one cigarette after another," Donzelli said.

There have been growing calls to limit smoking in films and on TV as part of a general crackdown on cigarettes.