Long Live Freedom

Giovannie (left) and Enrico

There aren’t many films about passion in politics, the oeuvre of Leni Riefenstahl to one side. But that’s what you get in writer/director Roberto Andò’s Viva la libertà (Long Live Freedom), the tale of a political party re-energised by an injection of vigour at the top. For vigour read madness. The great Toni Servillo plays two roles. In one he’s the lacklustre leader of an Italian political party who, having been badly heckled at a meeting, does a bunk one night and winds up hiding out in Paris at the home of an old flame. While Enrico hunkers down – eventually finding a gig working incognito on a film set – the party … Read more

Into the Labyrinth

Escapee Samantha with Dr Green

Dustin Hoffman and Toni Servillo in the same film? Into the Labyrinth (aka L’uomo del labirinto) is a properly intriguing prospect. Hoffman a madness-in-his-Method actor since his breakthrough in 1967’s The Graduate, Servillo the king of the hangdog deapan – or is that the deadpan hangdog? – and long-time collaborator with Paolo Sorrentino (in films like The Great Beauty and The Consequences of Love). Before you get too excited, they share only one scene together, and that’s right at the end, an afterthought possibly tacked on to give the publicity machine more to work with (and I’ve obliged by using the resulting picture). The two actors inhabit entirely different filmic universes, united only … Read more

The Great Beauty

Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in The Great Beauty

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 21 April Romulus founds Rome, 753BC On this day in 753BC, one of the great capitals of world civilisation was founded, or so the story goes. Rome, city of the Caesars, was founded by Romulus, who along with Remus was one of the twin sons of Rhea Silvia, daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa (present day Castel Gandolfo, where the Pope has his summer residence). The father of the twins was either Mars, the god of war, or possibly Hercules, the demi-god son of Zeus. Either way, Rhea Silvia’s sons become problematical for her once Numitor’s brother Amulius seizes power … Read more

The Consequences of Love


An easy film to recommend but a hard one to write about. That’s mostly because much of the power of The Consequences of Love derives from director Paolo Sorrentino’s playful decision to disguise what the film is all about. In fact it’s not even clear what genre he’s dealing with until a long way in. But a genre film it is, and the eventual realisation just which one director Sorrentino is toying with will either have you throwing hands up to heaven or kicking your legs into the air with joy. It starts as it means to go on – a long establishing shot of an empty moving walkway in an airport. Though … Read more