Italy film on sex-mad politician: fact or fiction?

Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:26pm EST
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By Deepa Babington

ROME (Reuters) - A new Italian film portrays a flashy politician who loves easy sex and hates justice, but with the real prime minister embroiled in a prostitution scandal, critics say political reality is looking stranger than fiction.

The comedy "Qualunquemente" hits Italian theatres this week, just as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi battles a growing storm over allegations that he paid for sex with prostitutes. He says the charges are absurd and dreamt up by biased magistrates.

The film revolves around "Cetto La Qualunque," a small-time fugitive who returns to his hometown in the southern region of Calabria and runs for mayor to combat what he considers a dangerous wave of law and order sweeping the coastal town.

Flanked by half-naked women, Cetto goes on the campaign trail with the intentionally shocking slogan "I have no dream, but I like pussy."

Off the trail, Cetto parties with topless women in a hot tub, frequents prostitutes and admiringly tells a bikini-clad woman: "Your lovely body qualifies you for town councillor."

Coming just as Italy grapples with leaked accounts of wild "bunga bunga" parties at Berlusconi's home with prostitutes procured by a showgirl-turned regional councillor, the film has drawn sizeable attention and more than a few snickers.

"The filmmaker assures us it is a 'very funny' film, but the truth is that there's little to laugh at because reality -- now, more than ever -- has vastly overtaken fiction," film critic Fulvia Caprara wrote in La Stampa newspaper.

"The vulgar horrors on the screen are nothing compared to those we see mentioned in the accounts leaked to newspapers."   Continued...

<p>Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he attends a meeting with Slovenia's president Danilo Turk at the Villa Madama in Rome January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>