Postcard from... Rome


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The Independent Online

Italy is justly proud at having won a coveted Oscar for best foreign film at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. But thanks to the hysterical headlines and non-stop TV coverage here, it’s felt more like Victory-in-Europe Day.

Perhaps it’s because there’s so little to celebrate these days that the press has gone crackers after director Paolo Sorrentino brought home the gong for La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty).

Politicians were also quick to stick their oars in.  While this month’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, tweeted that the win was a mark of “Italian pride”, President Giorgio Napolitano hailed a “splendid” win “in the great tradition of Italian cinema”.

But lest Italy forget who it really has to thank for the Oscar-winning film, a certain ex-premier and media mogul has been quick to remind them.

Mr Sorrentino might have a done a good job directing the Fellini-eqsue take on latter day Roman decadence. And the lead actor Tony Servillo was as brilliant as ever.

There would have been no  film, however, if Silvio Berlusconi hadn’t funded it through his production company. The Berlusconi family mouthpiece, Il Giornale, spelt it out in a front page editorial calling on “ungrateful Italy” to recognise “Berlusconi’s Oscar”.