Saturday, November 14, 2009

Movie of the
Month: Part 12

I recently reviewed the
following film for
, and thought the
results were worth sharing.

IL DIVO [****]
(Paulo Sorren-

tino, Italy, 20-
08, 110 mins.)

With his audacious portrait of Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, Paulo Sorrentino (The Consequences of Love)
reinvents the biopic—or at least turns it inside out.

If comparisons to Nixon aren't completely off the mark, they're
also misleading (New York Times critic Stephen Holden's cita-
tion of the British miniseries I, Claudius makes more sense).

While Oliver Stone offered a conventionally Freudian reading of
the former president, Sorrentino trades back story for something
more intimate, yet enigmatic by presenting the seven-time PM's
scandal-plagued reign from his subject's unique perspective.

And what
a subject!
rah, The
Girl by
the Lake)
plays An-
dreotti as
a hunched-up, jug-eared cross between Richard III and Nosfer-
atu's Max Schrek ("Il Divo" translates as the God or the Di-
vine). Instead of walking, he glides from dark room to dark
room—his other nicknames include the Prince of Darkness,
the Black Pope, the Sphinx, the Fox, and the Hunchback.

Despite his leadership of the Christian Democratic Party and ties
to the Vatican and the Mafia, Andreotti comes across as an isolat-
ed man with plenty of supplicants, but few friends (and a silent,
supportive spouse). Under his watch, assassinations of his critics
ran rife, even if he never did time for murder. His refusal to co-
operate with terrorists also led to the death of leftist rival Aldo
Moro (focus of Marco Bellocchio's fine Good Morning, Night).

Il Divo won seven David di Donatello Awards in Italy and the
Jury Prize at Cannes and has inspired comparisons to the work
of Federico Fellini, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, and Fran-
cis Ford Coppola. There's a certain coldness to it that will sure-
ly leave some unmoved, but it's undoubtedly among the most
fantastic-looking films of the year. Highly recommended.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part 11: Endgame

2/2/10 update: It would've been nice to see Il Divo score a nomina-
tion for best foreign language film, but one Oscar nod—for best make-
up—is better than nothing. For the complete list, please click here.

Endnote: Slightly revised from the original text. According to
a YouTube commenter on the trailer above, "The opening song
is 'Toop Toop' by Cassius, the second one is 'Nux Vomica' by the
Veils." Images from Cinemavistodame and The House Next Door.

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