Those who consider U.S. television a soul-crushing wasteland and a blight on democracy should get a load of this documentary by Erik Gandini, which argues that Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has leveraged his vast media empire to squelch dissent and distract the public from a corrupt government. A native Italian who moved to Sweden in the late 80s, Gandini looks on in horror at the glitzy, vulgar entertainment offered by Berlusconi’s numerous TV channels. Though the director hammers at his theme, there’s relatively little hard reporting on how Berlusconi has controlled the national discourse; instead Gandini focuses on the spiritual void of Italian media, giving over much of his screen time to profiles of fame-obsessed losers (a high-rolling paparazzi, an aspiring singer who wants to be the next Ricky Martin).