(Il Caimano) The Caiman* is Nanni Morretti’s scathing satire about Silvio Berlusconi, released like a stealth bomb in Italian cinemas just before their last election. The Caiman is a relationship comedy about a marriage breaking down. The Caiman is a farce about a lousy producer making a comeback film that no-one wants to fund.

The Caiman is all three of these. Here is a pie chart of the contribution the various plot strands of the film makes.


Here is a pie chart of my relative enjoyment of the thematic segments of the movie.


Hmm, you see the problem? The breakdown of the marriage of the producer is far and away the least interesting bit of the film, distracting from some telling satire and some pretty straight political posturing. The Berlusconi bits are bold, strong and allow the audience to despise the man whilst seeing his appear. The final ten minute sequence, the imagined end of Berlusconi’s trial, seems to come from a different film (it is supposed to) but a film that I would have rather seen. It might have been a bit dry, but is fascinating. Indeed the farce of making the film also allows us a view of an Italy where Berlusconi still owns all the major media, itself telling of his power. But whatever the film tries to tell us, Berlusconi did not split up the fictional relationship in the film, is not to blame there – and whilst that portion is fine, it takes up too much of the film.

*I have no idea why it is called this. Explanations pls.