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Il Divo

4.0 out of 5 stars 47 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

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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
    Not Rated
  • 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 (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002JTMNZ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,179 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Il Divo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 4, 2009
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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In life Guilio Andreotti was an enigma. More precisely, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Outwardly the most unassuming of persons, diminutive, quiet and complacent. In his obituary the Economist called him “The Keeper of Secrets” and a “Sphinx.” What did he know? According to this movie, quite a lot, maybe too much. He was apparently the puppet-master behind every major scandal or political killing in late 20th Century Italy, including the assassination of Aldo Moro.

A movie treatment of such a character could have easily failed due to the extreme blandness of the main protagonist. This movie does not. Il Divo (“the divine”) is the best political drama to come out in many years. It convincingly and dramatically portrays not only the sinister, secretive psyche of Andreotti, but engagingly shows the Byzantine, labyrinthine, raucous, rough and tumble nature of Italian politics, where alliances and allegiances are made and broken by the minute, and shows the complex relationships Andreotti carried out in his personal and political cohorts life. It also successfully shows how amid the chaos and uproar, Andreotti always emerged unscathed, even when he was tried for murder. The Teflon Prime Minister.

It is also a portrait of a tortured soul. Andreotti in life suffered from migraines all his professional political career. His placid external, calm demeanor and whispering voice was due no doubt that if he were to spoke too loud he would fall apart. That persona betrayed the horrorshow that lurked below. The film implies, but does not actually posit, that these migraines were the result of the tremendous conflict and pressure of being a part of so many sordid political adventures.
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