An intense, if ultimately counter-productive attempt to create the experience of protesters who were attacked by police at the Genoa G8 protests in 2001, the multi-lingual Italian film Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood (the title comes from a protest sign after the raid) puts the viewer in the middle of flailing truncheons and tumbling bodies without necessary context.
The re-enactments conform with testimonials of the participants in what Amnesty International, quoted in the film, called “the most serious suspension of human rights in a Western country since the Second World War” but, ultimately, the effect of the film is more numbing than enlightening.
Focusing on interrelated stories, the story jumps between cops, protesters of the Genoa Social Forum (holed up at an empty Armando Diaz school that was their sleeping quarters) and journalists at the nearby Independent Media Centre, which was also raided.
While the film shows anarchists overturning a car and exploding a Molotov cocktail beneath it, sympathies are overwhelmingly with the young hippie-like protesters without making it clear exactly what they were protesting against.
The few characters that emerge from the melee include a Roman journalist (Elio Germano), a good cop, Max (Claudio Santamaria), who tries to stop his comrades, and Alma (Jennifer Ulrich), a German demonstrator whose humiliation at the hands of police continues on through her night in jail.
Ultimately, though, a clear-eyed documentary would have served better to communicate the gravity of this history than these thin characterizations and dramatizations.