Today, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi turns 75, a milestone birthday but one that may be quietly observed. News outlets marking the occasion note that both Italy’s and Berlusconi’s troubles — economic, political, legal, et al. — are making this a “bitter” occasion with “very little to celebrate.”
Well phooey to that. There is some fun to be had, though it’s not necessarily out of respect to Berlusconi or to pay him any tribute. His birthday is a just a very good excuse to watch Erik Gandini’s “Videocracy,” an astonishing Swedish-produced documentary about the Italian television industry and celebrity culture. Think the U.S. is crazy about fame, idolatry and visibility? Watch this film. Think American paparazzi are shameless? Watch this film. Think Nancy Grace’s nip slip was a big deal? Watch this film.