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Oliviero Toscani - The Rage of Images (Oliviero Toscani - Bilderwut)

Oliviero Toscani - The Rage of Images
Scene from "Oliviero Toscani - The Rage of Images" (photo © Bildersturm Filmproduktion GmbH)

A dead soldier's blood-soaked t-shirt; a nun kissing a priest; a gaunt young man with AIDS; all were images used by the fashion label Benetton to advertise its clothing in the 90s. The provocative campaign was the work of Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, a man who brought topics such as war, racism, the death penalty, and the misery of refugees into the business of advertising. His posters set off a storm of indignation throughout the world; in many places they were banned. Toscani's “Reverse Psychology Marketing” challenges the intelligence and the consciousness of its audience; rather than praising products and tempting people to buy, it seeks to enlighten.

The Rage of Images examines the now 68-year-old artist and pioneer of anti-advertising whose career began with fashion shoots for labels such as Fiorucci, Armani and Esprit. It also looks at the private man who broke with Benetton in 2001 and now works independently, designing ad campaigns that go far beyond the mainstream.


Peter Scharf was born in 1964 in Hagen. He studied History, German Linguistics and Anglo-American History at the University of Cologne and worked for many years as a freelance journalist for several music fanzines and journals, as well as writing for the music broadcasters MTV and VIVA. Since 2000 he has been concentrating on documentary filmmaking. His films include: The Secret of the Voice (Das Geheimnis der Stimme, 2004), Brandt the Zwieback Maker: The Tale of the Baker and his Son (Zwiebackfabrikant Brandt: Das Maerchen vom Baecker und seinem Sohn, 2007), and The Gingerbread Prince (Der Printenprinz, 2008).

Katja Duregger was born 1970 in Stuttgart. She studied Political Science, History, Philosophy, Rhetoric, Literature and Media Science, with a focus on documentary films, at the Universities of Cologne, Tuebingen and Marburg. She worked for various radio stations and TV production companies and produced concert DVDs and music documentaries, before turning in 2000 to freelance television journalism and documentary filmmaking for German public broadcasters. Her other films include: Alone Against The Weapons Industry – Juergen Graesslin\'s War (Allein gegen die Waffenindustrie – Der Kampf des Juergen Graesslin, 2000), After The War ( Nach dem Krieg, 2009), and Let Yourself Go - The Lives of Fred Hersch (Let Yourself Go – Die Leben des Fred Hersch, 2008).
Genre Art, Culture, Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2010
Directors Peter Scharf, Katja Duregger
Screenplay Peter Scharf, Katja Duregger
Cinematography Steffen Bohn
Oliver Held
Producer Birgit Schulz
Co-Producers Sabine Rollberg, Sabine Bohland
Production Company Bildersturm Filmproduktion, in co-production with WDR, ARTE
Length 52 min
Format color
Original Version
 Italian, English, German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Stereo
Festivals International Festival of Films on Art Montreal 2011

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