Wednesday, September 9, 2009

IL DIVO: One of the best reviewed films of the year comes to DVD 10/27



The Astounding Story of Italy’s Most Notorious Political Figure

The Jury Prize Winner at Cannes, Arrives on Blu-ray And DVD From MPI on October 27, 2009

“…, it ranks alongside the best of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.” -Stephen Holden, NY Times

“A bold, provocative, original, wildly inventive stunner. A moviegoing feast in a world of snack food." -Stephen Rebello, Playboy

"If Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, and Federico Fellini had a love child, Sorrentino would be it." - Bilge Eberi, New York Magazine

Chicago, IL - He has been called the Prince of Darkness, the Black Pope, the Fox, the Sphinx and the Hunchback, but the nickname Il Divo – the God – perhaps best fits the persona of Italy’s seven-time prime minister and “senator for life,” Giulio Andreotti, a figure who held sway over the entire Italian political landscape for decades. The scandals that plagued Andreotti’s career -- charges of Mafia ties, bribery and deadly violence – would seem too appalling to be true, but viewers can decide for themselves when IL DIVO arrives on home video on October 27, 2009. MPI Home Video will release the cinematic masterpiece on both Blu-ray, with an SRP of $34.98, and on DVD, with an SRP of $27.98

Director Paolo Sorrentino’s film won the Jury Prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and won seven David di Donatello Awards (Italy’s Oscar). At its center is an unforgettable performance by Toni Servillo as the fearsome Andreotti, the right-leaning head of the long-ruling centrist Christian Democratic Party.

While the action of the film moves back and forth through the decades, it begins in 1991 as Andreotti is forming what would be his final administration as prime minister while fending off investigations into Mafia ties. He and his hardliner faction have retaken control of a country reeling from the brazen murders of high-level bankers, judges and journalists (this following the 1978 abduction of Andreotti’s left-leaning rival Aldo Moro; after Prime Minister Andreotti refused to negotiate with the kidnappers, Moro was murdered).

As his 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 a secret neo-Fascist Masonic sect. In what is called “The Trial of the Century,” Italy’s legendary “senator for life” (Andreotti retains the title still, at age 90) will stand accused of corruption, collusion and murder.

Upon its national theatrical release this spring, IL DIVO was greeted with unanimous praise from critics. Writing in Time Out New York, David Fear said Servillo-as-Andreotti’s “legacy as a symbol of power permeates each scene. Every gesture represents a command; every glance signals a vendetta.” The New York Times’ Stephen Holden called the film “a tour de force of indelibly flashy imagery” and added, “As operatic cinema, it ranks alongside the best of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. … The density of violent crime in this speculative history of skulduggery in high places equals that of ‘I, Claudius,’ ‘The Sopranos’ and the ‘Godfather’ movies.” Roger Ebert says, "...proceeds like a black comedy version of 'The Godfather'..."

Wrote Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly: “You need know nothing about Italian politics to completely enjoy the fantastical Fellini-fired, tragicomic, biographical fun-for-all.” Daily Variety called it “an intensely political film so wildly inventive and witty that it will become a touchstone for years to come.”

The IL DIVO raves were widespread: the online movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes posted a 100% positive response among leading critics, while Movie Review Intelligence ranked it the Number 1 favorably reviewed film in limited release. Many critics singled out Toni Servillo as being a virtual one-man Italian cinema revival, having also given an indelible performance in the recent hit crime drama “Gomorrah.”

IL DIVO is in Italian with English subtitles.

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