Will ‘Cayman’ bite Berlusconi?

Opponents worried Moretti's satire could backfire

Nanni Moretti’s anti-Berlusconi “The Cayman” has been chomping its way to stellar grosses after opening March 24.

But two weeks before national elections on April 9-10, even Berlusconi opponents are wary of the pic’s impact.

After all, George W. Bush was still re-elected after Michael Moore‘s “Fahrenheit 9/11” broke B.O. records.

“It’s a mistake,” complains Italian Communist Party leader Oliviero Diliberto, who worries Moretti’s scathing satire could backfire.

Even those in Berlusconi’s camp are spinning the pic’s implications.

“Michael Moore jinxed the Left big time; it will happen again,” says Justice Minister Roberto Castelli, a prominent member of the conservative government coalition, which is trailing by a few points in the polls.

“The Cayman,” whose title derives from a South American alligator, used as a nickname for the Italian TV-tycoon-turned prime minister, blends political satire and intimate drama. It revolves around a down-and-out B-movie producer, played by Silvio Orlando, who tries to make a movie about Berlusconi while breaking up with his wife.

Moretti says the pic, which is strongly tipped for Cannes, is not propaganda, and that its release date was set way before the country’s early elections were scheduled.

But the politically passionate filmmaker has been vocal about his intentions.

“I want to remind everyone that for the fourth time in 12 years, we have a candidate for prime minister who owns three TV stations. That would be unthinkable in another democratic country,” he told La Republica, after the pic’s bow.

“The Cayman” has been boosted by blanket media coverage, including on Berlusconi’s Mediaset stations, where Moretti has chosen not to appear.

Even the prime minister, who says he won’t be seeing the pic, has embraced its moniker.

“Ladies and gentlemen, here is the Cayman!” Berlusconi exclaimed, introducing himself to cheering supporters at a recent rally.

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