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Il Divo

39 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.

One of the best reviewed films of the year

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

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Special Features


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 (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002JTMNZ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,783 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Il Divo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jason C. Wilkerson on January 3, 2010
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dramamark on August 4, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jet Lagged on May 7, 2013
Format: DVD
"Power wears out those who don't have it."
- Andreotti

Stylish Italian film whose complex subject is Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. His above remark provides a clue to his love of being in power - at all costs.

Don't be misled by the trailer. This film is more subtle than that.

Andreotti's political path always seemed to be smoothed for him by hidden forces.

He lived in a luxurious apartment building directly opposite the Vatican. Critics called him "The Black Pope".

Andreotti served in 24 Italian governments from 1947 to 1992. He was embroiled in more than 20 different court cases or public inquiries. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison for ordering the murder of journalist Mino Pecorelli in 1979. (Pecorelli had been publishing a few inconvenient articles.) Andreotti was later cleared of the murder rap by an appeals court. As a result, he never did any time in the slammer.

He died on 6th May 2013, aged 94.

I've watched this Machiavellian film twice and shall watch it again.

By the way, the word "Divo" seems to be the masculine form of "Diva" (From the Latin "Divus").
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