Helmer talks to auds about possible politics

CANNES — Here with his anti-Silvio Berlusconi pic “The Caiman,” Italo helmer Nanni Moretti had a cautionary message for those who thought last month’s Italian general election may have cleared the country of murky media-manipulated politics.

“He (Berlusconi) still has three television stations out of six, plus newsmagazines and radio stations, and he holds economic power in many other areas,” the feisty leftist filmmaker told a packed Palais press conference Monday, his first press foray for the pic.

National elections ousted Berlusconi as prime minister but gave his opponent, Romano Prodi, only a razor-thin majority and a tenuous hold on government.

Released in Italy two weeks before the vote, “The Caiman” has performed handsomely at the Italo box office, scoring E7 million ($8.5 million) to date and besting local intake for Moretti’s 2001 Palme d’Or winner “The Son’s Room.”

Capitalizing on its Cannes preem, “Caiman” is going out this week in France, released by Bac Films.

Reactions to the fest press screening indicate that international critical reaction could be a challenge, but Moretti thinks he has a shot at another Palme.

“Unlike Berlusconi, I like competition. That’s why I’m here in Cannes for the fifth time,” he said.

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