Controversial Silvio Berlusconi Documentary to open in Italy Friday

ROME -- Directors Roberto Faenza and Filippo Macelloni on Tuesday unveiled the controversial documentary Silvio Forever: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Silvio Berlusconi, which is set to open Friday on more than 100 screens just as the legal problems for Italy’s media mogul-turned-prime minister begin to escalate.

The 79-minute film, which was written by Gian Antonio Stella and Sergio Rizzo, tells the story of Berlusconi’s rise from a cruise ship lounge singer to Europe’s richest media kingpin and Italy’s dominant politician over the last two decades, but with a twist -- almost all the dialogue in the film is from Berlusconi’s own words.

The film comes out just as attention in Italy shifts back to Berlusconi’s legal woes. On Monday, a trial in Milan looking into charges that Berlusconi bribed U.K. lawyer David Mills $600,000 to lie under oath during a trial in the 1990s looking into corruption charges. Mills was found guilty of accepting the bribe from Berlusconi, but Berlusconi was never charged with paying it.  Berlusconi said he was unable to attend the opening of the trail because of an emergency cabinet meeting related to the crisis in Libya.

The most high visibility trial will start April 6, when the 74-year-old Berlusconi will face charges of abuse of power and paying an under-age girl for sex. In another trial set to re-open soon, Berlusconi will face charges of influence peddling and tax evasion in connection with kickbacks for acquisitions for Medusa, the film distribution giant that is part of his Mediaset television and media empire.

Silvio Forever: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Silvio Berlusconi is produced by Ad Hoc Films and distributed by Lucky Red.

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