Join the Boston Sunday Night Film Club this Sunday, Jun 14th at 6:50pm for Il Divo at the Kendall Square Cinema . Look for Howard wearing a nametag in the theatre lobby about 15 minutes before the film. As always, after the film we will descend on a local establishment for dinner/drinks/discussion.
Director Paolo Sorrentino’s audacious and inventive biopic of Italian parliamentarian (and “Senator for Life”) Giulio Andreotti doesn’t make the Byzantine world of modern Italian politics any less confusing (non-Italian viewers may want to brush up on the topic beforehand), but the film illuminates, in great emotional detail, important events surrounding an early-1990s investigation in which the perpetual statesman was accused of having Mafia ties. The case was appealed and overturned several times, and Andreotti never served prison time, but it effectively marked the end of his centrist Christian Democratic party and forever changed the age-old relationship between the Mafia and the Italian government. Sorrentino’s fanciful use of titles, quick edits, multiple-perspective flashbacks, slow motion, extreme close-ups, and sublime musical accents–as well as star Toni Servillo’s brilliantly stylized acting–convert this airless and sinister piece of world history into a dynamic tale of moral ambiguity and seemingly invulnerable political power. Servillo plays Andreotti as an arrogant, deadpan Puck–an Italian Richard Nixon replete with easily mimicable physical tics and the conviction of his own rightness. In the film’s most memorable scene, Servillo allows his ironic veneer to crack just once, in a molten monologue where, spit flying, he justifies “perpetrating evil to guarantee good.” Another chilling sequence intercuts a crucial Mafia hit with shots of a particularly tense and triumphant horse race, while a punky blues number roars in the background. Sorrentino’s controlled and masterly storytelling won the 2008 Prix du Jury at Cannes.