ROME – Judges in the Milan sex and abuse-of-power trial against Silvio Berlusconi surprised almost everyone by sentencing the billionaire media mogul and three-time prime minister to an even harsher sentence than prosecutors asked for.
But at least one person may not have been surprised: six-time Cannes Palme d’Or nominee Nanni Moretti, whose 2006 anti-Berlusconi political drama Il Caimano (The Caiman) ended with a fictional Berlusconi receiving a sentence of seven years in jail and a lifetime ban from politics — the exact sentence handed down Monday in Milan.
A clip of the film’s finale (in Italian only) has been trending on social media in Italy since the sentence was handed down late Monday (go to the 1:12 mark of the clip below to see the sentencing).
In the real-life case, prosecutor Ilda Boccassini, in closing arguments lasting more than six hours, asked judges to sentence Berlusconi to six years behind bars plus the ban from politics. Niccolo Ghedini, the head of Berlusconi’s legal team, scoffed at Boccassini’s recommendation, calling it “ridiculous.”
The 76-year-old Berlusconi had been charged with paying an underage girl, exotic dancer Karima el-Mahroug, for sex and then charged with abuse of power for trying to get her off the hook on a minor theft charge.
In Il Caimano, the Berlusconi character is charged with multiple abuses of power, and, like Boccassini, the prosecutor in the film is a woman (played by actress Anna Bonaiuto) — in a country where most prosecutors are men. And in the film, the prosecution complained the case dragged on for five years due in part to delay tactics from the defendant. In real life, tactics from Berlusconi’s legal team managed to make the case last nearly four years.
Il Caimano — a film about someone making a film about Berlusconi — earned Moretti one of six of his Palme d’Or nominations in Cannes. He won the festival’s top prize in 2001 for La stanza del figlio (The Son’s Room).
When the film premiered, The Hollywood Reporter’s Duane Byrge praised Moretti for aptly “mixing political satire with the crazy movement of the film world.”
Moretti’s office did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment about the coincidence.
Berlusconi is one of Italy richest citizens, with media holdings that include three national television networks in Italy and one in Spain, a film studio, a media buying company, a major publisher and several print publications.