Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baaria” – recently selected as Italy’s foreign language film submission for the 82nd Academy Awards – has found itself in the midst of considerable controversy. Reuters is reporting that Italy’s main animal rights group has asked prosecutors to stop further screenings of the film “because it features the gruesome slaughtering of a bull.” The head of the National Association for Animal Protection (ENPA), Carla Rocchi, filed a complaint saying a scene in the film that details a bull being first struck with an ice pick and then having its throat slit while still alive amounted to “senseless cruelty.” She also asked that Tornatore be prosecuted.
Additionally, this Italian article is translated to suggest that ENPA wants “an international boycott against the sight of the film and the nomination to the prize Oscar.”
Tornatore has said that the bull scene was shot in a slaughterhouse in Tunisia after an attempt to recreate it with computer images proved ineffective.
“It’s a very brief, documentary-like scene in a fiction film,” Tornatore told Corriere della Sera daily.
“Baaria” is a big-budget epic that details 20th century Sicily, taking in Fascism, war, Communism and the Mafia. It premiered as the opening night film at the Venice Film Festival, and Italy’s Academy Award committee has received criticism for submitting the film, which was not received well.