Italian politics stalks Venice stage

Alessandra Mussolini tries to block 'Francesca'

Italo politics continue to crop up in strange ways with movies unspooling on the Lido.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi prompted a stir by praising what he saw as an anti-Communist message in Giuseppe Tornatore’s fest opener, “Baaria,” now Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Italian WWII fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, has taken legal action to stop two screenings of Horizons opener, “Francesca.”

“Francesca,” by Romanian helmer Bobby Paunescu, depicts the xenophobic treatment of Romanian immigrants in Italy where right wing politician Alessandra Mussolini reportedly said that “Romanians have rape in their DNA.”

In the pic a Romanian immigrant refers to Mussolini as a slut — prompting her ire and the law suit.

“Just as a precaution, we pulled two public screenings outside the Lido, which had been scheduled to follow the official ones,” said Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango is the Italian distributor for “Francesca.” “But we have no intention of pulling ‘Francesca’ from theatrical distribution, which is slotted for October.

“Worst case scenario we will dub the word ‘slut’ into ‘saint,’ ” he joked.

Meanwhile, Swedish/Italian helmer Erik Gandini’s documentary “Videocracy” has opened strongly at the local box office, coming in at No.4 on Friday, after its trailers were censored by Italo broadcasters RAI and Mediaset.

“Videocracy” links the deterioration of Italian morals and culture to the rise of Berlusconi’s Mediaset commercial TV empire and unspooled as a special event in Critics’ Week and Venice Days.

Fandango is distribbing the doc and Procacci now has high hopes that it will pull in more than e1 million ($1.4 million) in Italy.

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