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Il Divo
Il Divo
Actors: Fanny Ardant, Anna Bonaiuto, Flavio Bucci, Piera Degli Esposti, Giovanni Vettorazzo
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts
UR     2009     1hr 50min

For more than 50 years, he has been Italy s most powerful, feared and enigmatic politician. And as Giulio Andreotti begins his seventh term as Prime Minister, he and his hardliner faction take control of a country reeling ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Fanny Ardant, Anna Bonaiuto, Flavio Bucci, Piera Degli Esposti, Giovanni Vettorazzo
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Artists
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/27/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

Visually Stunning, Eerily Fascinating, Satirical Portrait of
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 11/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Il Divo" is unusual breed of biopic, a mixture of fact and fiction, whose power is in its visual and auditory style rather than in narrative. The subject is Italy's seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who was associated with every major political scandal in Italy for 50 years, frequently accused of murder and mayhem, and rumored to be the true master of the P2 Masonic Lodge. Some believe him responsible for many of the 236 political murders that occurred in Italy between 1969 and 1984. Writer/director Paolo Sorrentino focuses on the early 1990s, from the beginning of Andreotti's seventh government in 1991 until his trial in 1996, during which time he lost a bid to become President and was undermined by Mafia turncoats who testified against him.

Roger Ebert described "Il Divo" as "like a black comedy version of The Godfather". I can't think of a more apt description. This is satire, though many of the events of the film actually happened. Andreotti (Toni Servillo) is almost a comically absurd character, in spite of the violence, and speaks about himself with an ironic tone. This is all the more amazing because Giulio Andreotti is still living. The Italian political system is portrayed as farce. Andreotti is a laconic man, enigmatic and apparently self-consciously so. He is known for his lack of emotion, so Paul Sorrentino felt the need to introduce some into a character that might seem wooden otherwise. Andreotti's preoccupation with the 1978 death of Aldo Moro, which troubles him in the film, is fictional as far as anyone knows.

Being unfamiliar with Italian politics, I don't know what else has been fictionalized. What captivated me about "Il Divo" is that it is unusually cinematic. There is not a lot of dialogue, though Andreotti's meetings with the members of his faction, the fast-talking Paolo Pomicino (Carlo Buccirosso), slow Vittorio Shardella (Massimo Popolizio), and foolish Franco Evangelisti (Flavio Bucci), are darkly hilarious. The film lacks a strong narrative thread but is visually engrossing. Luca Bigazzi's camera creeps around. The eclectic score is perfect. I was never sure what Giulio Andreotti wanted, unless it is "perpetuating evil to guarantee good", as he says, and "Il Divo" takes patience. But this is a stunning and thoughtful film, even if it doesn't try to go anywhere. In Italian with optional English subtitles.

The DVD (MPI 2009): Bonus features include 11 deleted scenes (12 min) and 3 featurettes. "Making of Il Divo" (30 min) interviews writer/director Sorrentino about his approach, members of the cast, producers, cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, and composer Teho Teardo. "Special Effects Featurette" (7 min) interviews visual effects supervisor Nicola Sganga and shows some examples of effects used to change the weather, time of day, or in the many death scenes. In "Interview with Director Paolo Sorrentino" (12 min), the director talks about the character of Andreotti and making a film that is both fictional and factual. English subtitles are available for the film and the bonus features.
Best for Those Familiar with Italian Language and History
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 12/08/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Il Divo," (2008), is an Italian-language film, written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. It is a biographical drama about the life of Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who had been elected to the Italian Parliament seven times since its establishment in 1946, and was ultimately declared a senator for life. It stars Toni Servillo in the title role. "Il divo" means the maestro, or master, in Italian, and is generally used in a musical sense, but this is apparently what people call the uber-powerful Andreotti, who was rumored to have connections with the Mafia, and to the murder, by the Red Brigades, of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Many people believe Andreotti, who is thought to be a member of P2, the powerful, illegal Italian Masonic lodge, also had a hand in the possible 1978 murder of Pope John Paul I, and the murders of Cardinal Paul Marcinkus, of Chicago, and banker Roberto Calvi, all to do with the Vatican's corrupt Banco Ambrosiano that apparently lost Mafia money.

Servillo does an excellent job of giving us a thoroughly unattractive, evil politician; the character actors who play the supporting parts around him are excellent, as well; and the film does, of course, have subtitles, though I suspect most English speakers will have trouble, even so, with all those Italian names. The settings, whether interiors, or around Rome, are well-done, and there's been no stinting on cars, extras, etc. The script is witty, and wise. However, director Sorrentino perhaps mistrusted his material, as he has chosen to fool around with flashbacks and flash-forwards; to me, this just made the movie even more difficult to follow. And be warned, the film features a lot of blood and death, if that upsets you. Yet, it's also got some marvelously surrealistic scenes, as those of a cat with two different colored eyes wandering the Quirino, the historic Senate building. Undoubtedly, though, it will be a more satisfying experience for those with some familiarity with the language and history of Italy.
Il divo: La straordinaria vita di Giulio Andreotti
Jason C. Wilkerson | Green Bay, WI | 01/04/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (Toni Servillo) had been elected to Parliament seven times since it's inception in 1946. Having served in multiple roles in the government including President of the Council of Ministers, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Defense Minister, Andreotti was known by many names including "The God Giulio," "The Fox," "Beelzebub," "The Black Pope," "The Prince of Darkness," "The Hunchback," and others. After losing a bid for President of the Republic, Andreotti is confronted for allegedly having dealings with the mafia which, among others, led to the death of his friend Aldo Moro. Blamed for many of the ills that have befallen Italy during his times in office, Andreotti is sent to trial for his supposed mafia ties.

Il Divo won the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival and was released in January of 2009 to US audiences. Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, Il Divo is a look into the moral ambiguity of a man who doesn't prize relationships, only politics. Rarely does Giulio Andreotti crack a smile or show any emotion at all, but in Sorrentino's look at the man you see the effects of the emotions that eat away at him from the inside. Surrounding himself with men, good and bad, Andreotti feels that he's doing what's best for the country, even if he gets there by the improper means sometimes. While this works great for a simple character study, is this enough to get audiences beyond those that would normally watch foreign films into it?

Absolutely! Sorrentino gives the film a very stylish flare worthy of Martin Scorsese. Utilizing quick cuts, pop/ rock music, intersting titles, etc. Showing various scenes of graphic violence intercut with more mundane moments in Andreottie's life shows the difference between the calm exterior of Andreotti and the violence that possibly bubbles below leaving you to wonder if Andreotti was behind the violence as was purposed, or did he have nothing to do with it. This is one of the keys to Sorrentino's great film, while we see Andreotti as something of a soulless person for most of the film, we're never really given the filmmaker's opinion of whether Andreotti is guilty or not. Removing himself from the film, Sorrentino accomplishes something most filmmakers are unable to accomplish.

What really makes this movie though, is Toni Servillo's portrayal of Giulio Andreotti. The real trick of this performance is appearing unemotional on the surface, but also showing the current bubbling beneath the surface from past decisions that are eating away at him. In one brilliant moment in the movie, Andreotti appears to be either talking to his wife, or practicing a conversation he's going to have with her, and in essence speaks to the audience talking about things that he's done in the past that have caused people to die, and the speech is brilliant and could easily be compared to Jack Nicholson's "You can't handle the truth..." speech from A Few Good Men.

On the downside of the film though, it's impenetrable in the terms of politics. Il Divo doesn't really try to explain Italian politics, and while that's good to a certain extent, those of us who aren't familiar with Italian politics will get lost at times. Also the film seems more interested in being consciously stylish that it doesn't really feel like it is the political commentary that it tries to be.

But, in terms of entertainment, this movie definitely delivers. If you like political dramas, Scorsese style movies, or foreign films I highly recommend this film. It is thoroughly entertaining giving you a mix of political drama, action, and a character study of a man who would do anything for the politics of a nation.

Captivating cinema rendered with expertise
Three Heads Are Better Than One | NYC | 09/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a stately and magnificent film about Italian politics, the Mafia, corruption and the Vatican. The cinematography is intense and captivating. This is an involving film, one I will rewatch. Comparisons to Scorsese are justified."