‘Caiman’ has big bite

Italy's David awards fete anti-Berlusconi pic

Helmer Nanni Moretti’s Cannes-bound anti-Silvio Berlusconi dramedy “The Caiman” snapped up six statuettes — including picture, director and producer — at Italy’s 50th David di Donatello film awards on Friday night.

Named for the South American alligator used as a leftist nickname for Italy’s outgoing premier and media mogul, “The Caiman” also nabbed actor nod for Silvio Orlando, along with awards for music and sound.

The evening’s other big winner was Michele Placido’s gangster epic “Crime Novel,” which scored eight Davids including supporting actor (Pierfrancesco Favino), screenplay, cinematography, editing, set design and costumes.

“The Caiman” is produced by Moretti’s Sacher Film in collaboration with Gaul’s Wild Bunch and Bac Films, which will release the film in France following its unspooling in next month’s Cannes competish.

Mixing scathing political satire and intimate drama, pic is the tale of a down-and-out B-movie producer (Orlando) who tries to make a movie about Berlusconi while his marriage is breaking up. Pic has scored more than E6 million ($7.4 million) at the local box office in four weeks.

“Crime,” which is produced by Cattleya and Warner Bros. Italia, unspooled in Berlin. Pic, about a real 1970s Rome-based crime gang with political connections, is playing well at the Gaul B.O., after a solid Italo performance.

Nods are a clear sign that shady politics are a successful underlying theme in Italian movies these days.

Davids come as local pics are enjoying a boffo time at the B.O., where the top three grossers are domestic.

Besides “Caiman,” hot titles include first-time helmer Fausto Brizzi’s teen-romancer “Night Before Finals,” which took the David for best first work.

The David for foreign film went to Paul Haggis’ “Crash.”

Lackluster ceremony did not air live on one of RAI’s main stations for the first time in years, but was relegated to the pubcaster’s RAI-Sat satellite service.

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