Italy flocks to Berlusconi satire

'Viva l'Italia' bows to $1.9 million at the weekend box office

ROME — Just as Silvio Berlusconi, freshly convicted of tax fraud Oct. 25 (and still facing charges of consorting with an underage girl) blew a fuse, threatening to bring down the Italian government, “Viva L’Italia,” a raunchy comedy about a right-wing Italo pol who has sex with a prostitute, blacks out, and then starts spouting everything he thinks, took the No. 1 slot at the Italian box office.

The pic marked the first Italo numero uno opener in seven months, scoring $1.9 million off 522 playdates in its first frame via Rai Cinema’s 01 Distribuzione, beating Oliver Stone’s “Savages” for Universal, which bowed at $1.3 million (albeit from just 330 screens).

Helmed by multihyphenate Massimiliano Bruno, a former host of an Italian version of “Saturday Night Live,” “Viva” stars Michele Placido (who plays Berlusconi in Nanni Moretti’s “The Caiman”) as a corrupt conservative pol whose candid onscreen dialogue includes such gems as: “We are in Italy: I’m rich, so I get to cut in line.”

Still on the film docket is the bow of “E io non pago” (I’m Not Paying) a comedy about Italo tax evasion and fraud.

Three guesses as to what the pic is based on.

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