The Lavazza Italian Film Festival opened in Brisbane (19 September) at Palace Barracks with a screening of ‘Loro’.
Academy Award-winning Director Paolo Sorrentino re-teams with his ‘The Great Beauty’ star Toni Servillo who plays infamous Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The auteur and his actor remain as talented as ever but their pairing here lacks the charm of their previous effort.
To be sure, Toni gives a mesmerising and layered performance as the Italian politician hinting that Silvio is always selling a lie to somebody without cessation that long ago he started buying it himself.
The bulk of the film takes place over a small pocket of time when the Italian leader having been ousted, holes up in one of his extravagant estates trying to repair his second marriage and struggling without a sense of purpose.
The film is at pains to show the type of man Silvio is and the type of people attracted to a man like that. There are repeating motifs of lambs to the slaughter with people caught up in images that distract from what is really going on in their country. Some characters are found of telling stories that have no point where others change lives with the smallest of gestures.
There are several strong ideas running throughout the movie and certainly an ensemble of actors ready to give their trust to the venerated filmmaker. Paolo Sorrentino’s knack for making a good looking picture remains undiminished but a collection of strong scenes don’t add up to much and the ending meanders as if the film forgets what point it was originally trying to make.
Plus where in previous efforts the Director’s framing of naked figures seemed to revel in an earthy sensuality of all bodies and different ages here the focus is gratuitous and mostly one sided concerning young skinny girls. No doubt that is the point but it is one example of how ‘Loro’ feels less disciplined, thinking it's profound when it ultimately leaves little to dwell on which may be its intention so as to better represent the great man himself.
The after party included several delicious hors d’oeuvres from Bucci being served around with drinks and a live band performing energetically. A large crowd was in attendance and thoroughly enjoyed themselves as the Italian Film Festival kicked off in style.