I’m not saying it’s worse in Italy, but misery loves company, and with 14 dozen political parties the Italians have a lot of drama too.
When Enrico Oliveri (Toni Servillo), the secretary of the major opposition party, goes AWOL and hides out at an old girlfriend’s house in Paris (“What’s he doing here, Mom?” ” I think he just needs a little rest.”), an absurd and Pirandello-esque scenario works surprisingly well.
That he has a twin brother, and that twin brother is a bi-polar philosopher just recently released from a mental hospital, and that twin brother should be enlisted to impersonate the missing politician in his absence may seem nothing more than an Italian version of “The Parent Trap”, but it’s a lot more. The absurdity of today’s Italian government kind of requires a preposterous skewering, and Viva la Libertà is it. Do politicians need to go back to real life and “rest” once in a while to refresh their perspectives, and does a country sometimes need a madman to say the things that nobody else has the guts or the vision to say?
Can a country be saved if a crazy person steps up and speaks the truth? If only it were that simple.
It took five minutes of fact checking after watching Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo to find that this docudrama is as much “docu” as it is “drama”, and while it may seem like the movie is one big conspiracy theory, this amazing story of Italian politics is not a piece of fiction. This is Italy’s Watergate – with a lot more blood – and it makes for a shocking and compelling movie.
The film’s subject,92 year Giulio Andreotti (again, Toni Servillo), the seven time Italian prime minister (Richard Nixonesque in more ways than one), walked out of the movie’s premier. I might be pissed off too, if a movie “revealed” what I had to say in a confessional. In the movie he says that he talks to priests and not God because -“I preti votano, Dio no” – “Priests vote but God doesn’t.”
Was the Prime Minister incredibly unlucky or undeniably guilty? – that is this film’s question, because in Andreotti’s 20 some years in office, there were a whole bunch of “unfortunate” assassinations and killings made to look like suicides – people that were creating problems for the Christian Democratic Party. According to the movie, the only thing that really bothered Andreotti was the abduction and murder of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in 1978. Andreotti infamously refused to negotiate with the terrorists and was accused of wanting Moro dead. That’s what his character said he’d felt remorse for, but I’m sure that the real thorn in the real prime minister’s side was his 22 year prison conviction (overturned) for his alleged Mafia connections.
Politicians making deals and pushing through laws that line their pockets, organized crime, drugs, and church officials who are in it for themselves and not for God, Suburra isn’t a documentary and it isn’t meant to be educational or provide a factual account of news stories of contemporary Rome, but it does feel a little too authentic for comfort. Sollima took the “Mafia Capitale, a real-life scandal involving the Roman government and made it into a seriously cool movie with dark, violent and fascinating characters.