Paolo Sorrentino on IL DIVO

The Calm Eye of a Corrupt Storm: Toni Servillo (center) as Giulio Andreotti in IL DIVO

The Calm Eye of a Corrupt Storm: Toni Servillo (center) as Giulio Andreotti in IL DIVO

Okay, no fooling, IL DIVO is a challenge. It boasts tons of characters who probably have some notoriety in Italy but are pretty obscure here, and on top of that, deals with the Italian political system, which appears to be just slightly less mind-boggling than the Klingon-language edition of Finnegan’s Wake.

So what’s to recommend the film? Well, since it deals with a tiny slice of the career of long-time politician (we’re talking some fifty years, here) Giulio Andreotti, and since that slice is focused on the early nineties — when the man was Prime Minister for the seventh time — you’re talking a scenario that includes rampant corruption, insidious double dealing, and a list of murders so long that  Hannibal Lector might begin suspecting that things had gotten out of hand. How could a film boast all that stuff and not be entertaining?

It helps that director Paolo Sorrentino mounts the project as a sort of orgy of rampant excess, and then complements that fury by having it swirl around the impressive, disturbingly clenched performance of actor Toni Servillo as Andreotti. Watching the film, you may wish there was a MapQuest for Italian politics, but you won’t be bored.

Here’s my interview with Sorrentino.


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