The director of Mondovino has accused Robert Parker’s partner Pierre-Antoine Rovani of cynicism, McCarthyism, Orwellianism and all-round bad faith in an 8-page open letter to Parker.
In an extraordinary 4,300-word posting on Parker’s website, Jonathan Nossiter rounds on critics of his film, which he describes as ‘a high-spirited humanist expression of love.’
The director, whose film has caused massive controversy in the wine world, turns a verbal scatter-gun on his critics. Contributors to Parker’s message board, where the documentary is a hot topic, are labelled ‘disingenuous, slanderous [and] self-serving’.
It is Pierre-Antoine Rovani, however, for whom the most vitriolic invective is reserved.
Rovani is accused of being a Mussolini apologist, and indirectly fascist and anti-semitic, ‘monolithic and unscrupulously self-serving.’
Rovani, he says, shows ‘particularly grotesque…Orwellian inversion of the truth’, and indulges in ‘McCarthyite smears’.
The diatribe broadens to embrace a number of wine publications. Wine Spectator, Decanter, Revue du Vin de France and Gambero Rosso are each accused of a lack of investigative and critical vigour.
Nossiter refuses to countenance widely repeated criticism that Mondovino is an anti-globalisation polemic. He says, ‘I’m the son of Bernard Nossiter, distinguished economics reporter and foreign correspondent for the Washington Post and the New York Times. He brought our family up across the globe…’. He then quotes his brother who suggests the film is ‘against global homogenization’ rather than globalisation.
Mondovino has provoked an unprecedented level of debate, with eRobertParker.com’s message board merely the tip of the iceberg.
Perhaps the most informative of all the postings on the site, however, is a one-sentence comment from wine aficionado Neal Mollen.
‘Johnny, don’t get your shorts in a twist. People are entitled to think your movie sucks and say so. Just as others are entitled to fall in love with it. What was that about protesting too much?’
There has been no answering comment from Robert Parker or Pierre-Antoine Rovani.
Written by Matthew Hemming