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Il Divo

4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 from the brazen murders of several high-level bankers, judges and journalists, as well as the kidnapping and assassination of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. But as the Christian Democrat party crumbles in a nationwide bribery scandal, suspicion begins to fall on Andreotti himself as the center of a shocking conspiracy involving the Vatican, the Mafia and the secret neo-Fascist Masonic Lodge P2. In what is called The Trial Of The Century, Italy s legendary Senator for Life will stand accused of corruption, collusion and murder.

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Subtitled "the extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti," director-writer Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo details the latter portion of the reign of Italy's seven-time prime minister, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party for some 50 years and a guy with more nicknames than James Brown: in addition to Il Divo, Andreotti, who is now in his nineties, has been known as the Sphinx, the Salamander, the Hunchback, Beelzebub, and the Black Pope, among others. He is also widely believed to have been directly connected to the Mafia; and perhaps most infamously, Andreotti was blamed for the death of popular centrist rival Aldo Moro, whom he refused to help when Moro was abducted and then assassinated by leftist radicals in 1978. We first see Andreotti (portrayed by Toni Servillo) in the early 1990s, by which time he has been named Senator for Life and is quietly gloating over the fact that he's outlived nearly everyone who tried to bring him down; by the end, he's the defiant, unrepentant defendant in Italy's Trial of the Century, accused of all sorts of nefarious deeds, including conspiracy, corruption, and murder. In between are a series of exquisite, indelible scenes and images, such as Andreotti walking the streets of Rome in the wee small hours, surrounded by gun-toting bodyguards (Gabriel Faure's Pavane, the soundtrack in this scene, is but one example of the consistently brilliant use of music, from classical to techno), or the shots of various enemies being eliminated in moments of operatic violence (it's not for nothing that Sorrentino's work has been compared to Coppola and Scorsese's). Servillo, somewhat reminiscent of the late Peter Sellers, delivers a mannered but beautifully measured performance as a man described as "incapable of doubts or thrills." He's as cold and stiff as a wax figure, yet while he speaks quietly (in part due to debilitating migraines), what he does say is usually memorable; invited to dance at one gathering, he replies, "I don't succumb to lesser vices," and when urged to run for President of the Republic, he accepts by saying, "I know I'm of average height, but I don't see any giants around." A triumph of both style and substance, Il Divo is not only one of the best foreign films of 2008, but one of the best films, period. --Sam Graham

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Fanny Ardant, Anna Bonaiuto, Flavio Bucci, Piera Degli Esposti, Giovanni Vettorazzo
  • Directors: Paolo Sorrentino
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002JTMNZ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,087 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Il Divo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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IL DIVO is a brilliantly acted and beautifully photographed film with some incredible artwork and design. Paulo Sorrentino's expose of the Italian regime presents both sides of a contentious story in an equal and frank portrayal. Highly reccomend this film to fans of arthouse cinema and anyone who appreciates strong, quality acting and writing.
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A brilliant film based on the complex and enigmatic character of Andreotti, and Italy itself. The Italian political scene during the Christian Democrats' reign was rife with clientelism, corruption and terrorism. Servillo's portrait of Andreotti is appropriately ambiguous and opaque. The primary strength of this film is Sorrentino's masterful direction, settings, framing, film composition and montage. Plus, any film that can successfully incorporate Trio's 'da da da' into a soundtrack predominately composed of classical music deserves commendation. Bravo!!!
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After watching Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty", I wanted to know more about his other works. "Il Divo" is not as spectacular, but it describes Andreotti's and Italy's predicament in a very cinematic language, both somber and enlightening.
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"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.
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