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Film / Il Divo

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"Don Mario: Montanelli said: «De Gasperi and Andreotti went to mass together and everybody believed they were doing the same thing. but it was not so. in the church De Gaspari spoke with God, Andreotti instead with the priest. Giulio Andreotti: Priests vote. God does not."
"Beside Punic Wars, they accused me of everything happened in Italy. [...] but I never filed a lawsuit, for a simple reason, I have a sense of humor. There is another thing I have: a large archive, given I have not much use for fantasy, and everytime I speak about this archive, who must shut up, as if by magic, start to be silent." Giulio Andreotti"

Il Divo (Italian for "the divine one", one of the many many many surnames of the man himself) is a 2008 biographical - drama movie about a meaningful period (1991-1993) in the life of Italian politician mastermind Giulio Andreotti, whose real life career spanned Italian postwar politics since the 40s well through the 90s. The movie is directed by academy award winner director Paolo Sorrentino and star Toni Servillo (unrecognizable) in the title role.The movie, with a sarcastic, darkly humorous tone narrates how Andreotti manipulates his party and the country during his tenure as a political leader thank to his impressive intelligence and network, and tried and failed to become President of the Republic in the 1992 election following the death of famous judge Giovanni Falcone by "cosa nostra" and his (supposed) Mafia involvement.The movie closes with his implication in a lengthy criminal prosecution for mafia association and a surreal sequence in which Andreotti monologues about the necessity of evil as a tool to defend the country and to maintain order, power and preserve the public good. Bear in mind that this movie was made while Andreotti himself was still alive! He died in 2013.


The movie has an amazing score ranging from classical music to techno. It was nominated for the make up achievement at the Academy Awards.

Tropes seen in Il Divo include:

  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: absolutely AVERTED: all the politicians and personalities on screen are there with their real names and, if some aspect are obviously a matter of fiction or speculation, they are in the same roles and spots as their real life counterparts.

  • Magnificent Bastard: Andreotti is an undoubted political mastermind and, it's a bastard.

  • Affably Evil: Andreotti, is, if snarky, always very polite and a good conversation.

  • Ambiguously Evil: Andreotti justifies his more questionable actions as a "necessary evil" in an passionate speech at the end of the movie. How much his justifications holds is up to you. YMMV.

  • Benevolent Boss: Andreotti is dearly loved by his close employees like his secretary and his factotum.

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  • World of Snark: Andreotti is well known in Italy for many snarky quotes and a cynical, dry humor. The movie accordingly has this, in spades.

  • Corrupt Politician: THE MOVIE. In early 90s Italy, before the scandal known later as Tangentopoli ("Bribesville") that was the norm. Andreotti and his allies manipulates the system with favors, bribes and relationships.

  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Andreotti in the interview by Eugenio Scalfari.

  • The Chessmaster: Andreotti defining trait.

  • Sleazy Politician: the ones that are not outright corrupt, are these.

  • Decadent Court: the Italian Parliament is a nest of vipers and among parties and currents the backstabbing and the crossfire is everywhere.

  • Viewers Are Geniuses: a full understanding of the movie implies at more than passing knowledge of 90s Italian history and politics.

  • The Great Politics Messup: in the background.

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Andreotti loves his wife dearly, and share a very tender moment watching television together, holding hands while a very poetic song is in the background. We also see a glimpse of when Giulio asked her hand.

  • Karma Houdini: zig-zagged. The film implies heavily that Andreotti is guilty, but in the end he is acquitted of all charges, in a way or another. On the other hand, his political career doesn't recover from the blow.

  • Historical Domain Character: almost all cast is made of real people.

  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Andreotti comes from the province around Rome and starts from humble origins.

  • Author Tract: there is a surreal scene at the end, in line with other Sorrentino works. There is also a party in a house, with loud music and dancers.

  • Moral Event Horizon: the "supposed" mafia dealings and the suspected killing of Mino Pecorelli, an investigative journalist.

  • Foregone Conclusion: as per real life Andreotti does not get convicted but doesn't even get a full absolution for the facts before 1980. The mafia connection nevertheless derails his political ambition to become President of the Republic and of any other significant engagement

  • Irony: Andreotti is often ironic and very understated, but it's a ruse to hide the extent of his power and influence.

  • Mood Whiplash: the movie shifts often between ridicule, grotesque and solemn.

  • Motive Rant: in the end, Andreotti address the audience in a surreal monologue explaining the reason of his actions. Essentially he says that evil and lies are a necessity to uphold the public good.

  • Power Corrupts: Andreotti says that "power wears those who don't have it", but the idea is there.

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