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Viva l’Italia

There is a tradition in Italy of using comedy to tackle serious subjects – and to make serious points.

One thinks for instance of Life Is Beautiful., Roberto Bagnini’s film about a little boy’s life in a concentration camp.

In Viva l’Italia, the central premise is not a new one – a world in which politicians are compelled to say exactly what’s on their minds.

One thinks of The Invention of Lying (with Ricky Gervais) or

But in Viva l’Italia you can feel director Massimiliano Bruno’s anger that lies behind all the laughter – the anger at how badly served Italy has been (and by extension the rest of us) by the people in power.

In the film, a corrupt senator has a stroke while romping in bed with his favourite call girl – shades here of Berlusconi – which affects the part of brain that controls inhibitions.

 So, he starts telling the truth. It’s not that he just stops lying, he starts telling the truth about everyone and everything. All the time.

 In particular to his three children - son Valerio who only has a job thanks to his father; daughter Susanna, whose acting career is based on connections rather than talent; and son Riccardo, a doctor the one person in the family who has succeeded on his own merits and who is estranged from his corrupt father.

The laughs in this film help make palatable the more serious message – namely, the damage done by worthless but well-connected people and the plague of a strictly self-interested and immoral political elite. Well worth a watch.