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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 18, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

    Il Divo

    Fiona McCann

    Last night I attended the Film Festival screening of Il Divo, an astoundingly inventive and beautifully crafted (if confusing: too many Italian politicians, bankers, businessmen, dates, subtitles and political machination for this viewer, unschooled in Italian political history, to follow) film with a wonderful soundtrack, astonishing lensing, and a stand-out performance by Toni Servillo as Giulio Andreotti. Afterwards, director and writer Paolo Sorrentini received an award and participated in a short question-and-answer session with the audience. Q&As usually make me cringe, given the kind of soapboxing by audience members it appears to induce, but this one was worth it for a few sharp questions and a wonderful revelation at the end from a gentleman who described himself only as “someone who worked at the Department of the Taoiseach for thirty years.” The gentleman in question said he met Andreotti on several occasions, and pointed to the accuracy of Il Divo‘s portrayal of this powerful political figure who thrice served as Italy’s Prime Minister. He followed with a recollection of Andreotti’s impact on our own Charles J. Haughey, remarking on the latter’s clear fascination with the former. Having just watched a film about Andreotti’s Mafia links and brutal treatment of his enemies in politics and the media, it was particularly entertaining to hear the name of our former Taoiseach introduced. The gentleman in question got a larger round of applause than Sorrentino.  

    • clom says:

      a great place to fill in some of the context to this period of italian political history, interspersed with digressions about Sicilian/Neopolitan culture, the Sicilian mafias involvement in the liberation of Italy, De Lampedusa’s “Leopard” and food you could do worse than Peter Robb’s wonderfully evocative “Midnight in Sicily”.

    • Fiona says:

      Clom: Wow, thanks for all the recommendation. Might have helped to have read that beforehand, actually, but now that I’m on the Italian theme, I might just take you up on it.

    • Leonora says:

      Congratulations on your bigblogoska. Very proud of you. The Q and A sounded good. Clom is spot on about the Leopard and Peter Robb’s beautiful “Midnight in Sicily”. If you are getting it, and you can’t not, get the lovely old harvill edition, black and red with the kiss photo on the cover. The other great book about the Mafia is Alexander Stille’s Excellent Cadavars.

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