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Italy’s former Prime Minister, Silvio Berslusconi can take credit for inspiring Italian filmmakers, as to be seen in this year’s Italian Film Festival, although the resulting films give him nothing to be proud of.

A highlight of this year’s Italian Film Festival (Oct 25 – Dec 6 national tour), Palme d’Or winning actor/director Nanni Moretti's long-awaited, multi-award inning follow-up to The Son’s Room combines entertaining comedy with an electrifying critique of Silvio Berlusconi (variously played by Elio De Capitani, Michele Placido and Moretti himself). By turns funny, sublime and rousing, The Caiman is the first Italian feature to attack the former prime minister directly.

But there’s more …when RAI axed political humorist and comedian Sabina Guzzanti's popular TV show because of her wicked Berlusconi imitation, she decided it was time to take a stand. Guzzanti's witty and scathing documentary Viva Zapatero! directs hard criticism at the censorship imposed by Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. Criticising his use of political and corporate influence to control 90 percent of Italian media, Guzzanti's program also raised questions about the systematic replacement of respected journalists with people in Berlusconi's own employ.

Passages from censored programs are also shown together with interviews with government employees who were the victim of censorship, in addition to university professors and journalists from several countries and other cases are listed where programs were cancelled and the journalists obliged to resign.

Showcasing the latest works from other directors such as Cristina Comencini, Robert Faenza, Michele Placido, Pupi Avati and Marco Bellocchio, with performances by Sergio Castellitto, Kim Rossi Stuart, Valeria Golino, Geraldine Chaplin, Margherita Buy, Luigi Lo Cascio, Jasmine Trinca and Silvio Muccino, the 2006 Italian Film Festival will screen 35 films, and My Best Enemy, which blitzed the Italian box office earlier this year, will launch the 2006 Festival.

Directed by, and featuring veteran actor Carlo Verdone, and heart-throb Silvio Muccino, both of whom starred in Manual of Love, the break-out hit of the 2005 Italian Film Festival, My Best Enemy is a hilarious, occasionally poignant, cross-generational tale about the dangers of making enemies and the importance of family.

Academy-Award-Winning director Gabriele Salvatores and producer Maurizio Totti will be special guests of the 2006 Festival.

The Festival, sponsored by Lavazza, will tour nationally:
MELBOURNE: 25 October to 12 November
SYDNEY: 26 October to 13 November
CANBERRA: 23 November to 3 December
BRISBANE: 9 November to 22 November
PERTH: 16 November to 29 November
ADELAIDE: 23 November to 6 December

Published October 26, 2006

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The Caiman

Italian Film Festival 2006

Viva Zapatero

My Best Enemy

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