Films & Schedules

  • Il Divo

  • Paolo Sorrentino

118 minutes

Production Company:
Indigo Film/Lucky Red/Parco Film/Babe Films/StudioCanal/Arte France Cinéma
Nicola Giuliano, Francesca Cima, Andrea Occhipinti, Maurizio Coppolecchia
Paolo Sorrentino
Production Designer:
Lino Fiorito
Luca Bigazzi
Cristiano Travaglioli
Emanuele Cecere
Teho Teardo
Principal Cast: Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto, Giulio Bosetti, Flavio Bucci, Carlo Buccirosso

Tuesday September 0904:30PM WINTER GARDEN THEATRE Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1109:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Paolo Sorrentino's magisterial Il Divo reaches into the tumultuous political history of post-war Italy to craft a dazzling portrait of one of the period's most complex and ambiguous figures, Giulio Andreotti (Toni Servillo). Arguably the most important Italian politician of the last fifty years, Andreotti entered politics in 1946 and led seven governments, turning his Christian Democratic party into a force that ran Italy in what was essentially a one-party system. To do so clearly required a man of singular abilities – but Andreotti was, and remains, an enigma to his fellow countrymen. Perhaps tellingly, his favourite film was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Sorrentino sketches the background to these years – a period of murder and assassinations during which politicians, judges and bankers were brutally removed – before focusing on the last government that Andreotti led, which was overshadowed by allegations of Mafia connections.

The film eschews the traditional biopic format in favour of a far more claustrophobic, focused look at the man. This concentration of energy and force pays high dividends, especially as Sorrentino has found a perfect vessel in Servillo, an actor who loses himself in the role and effectively “becomes” Andreotti before our eyes. From the film's opening moments when we are confronted with Andreotti – in intense close-up, with acupuncture needles covering his face – we are unmistakably in the hands of a master.

What is fascinating about Il Divo is the manner by which it hones in on a man who is apparently more interested in obtaining power than actually wielding it. Andreotti is a tightly coiled, extremely controlled, almost emotionless field of energy who successfully navigates the backroom corridors of power but appears unconcerned and uninterested in issues of policy. Sorrentino's conceit is not to skim the surface of Andreotti's political accomplishments, but to stare as if through a microscope into the more private corridors of his thoughts. This he does with an intense desire to see and understand, though perhaps only the enigma remains.

Piers Handling

Paolo Sorrentino was born in Naples. He made his feature-filmmaking debut with One Man Up (01), and has since directed The Consequences of Love (04) and The Family Friend (06). Winner of the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Il Divo (08) is the director's fourth feature film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award