- Fiona Prior
Director Sorrentino’s biopic about a number of critical years in the life of once Prime Minister of Italy, billionaire media magnate Silvio Berlusconi (played superbly by Tony Servillo) could easily be mistaken for a teenage boy’s wet dream. Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ parties were internationally notorious and director Sorrentino quite obviously has had a ball portraying these lavish, bikini-model populated, dance party-orgies fuelled by the drugs MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine.
Did no one do any work during the time of Berlusconi’s influence in Italy? Did no one have crashing head-aches and meltdowns when the drugs wore off? Did the Italian police really not bust these extravagant get-togethers that must have been rivers of gold for drug-dealers, working girls, their pimps … and generally anyone who shared Berlusconi’s taste for excess and felt as equally untouchable? I can only imagine that to receive an invitation to such a ‘do’ you would need to be on the party (political or social) payroll or a member of some inner circle that did not mind exchanging a few germs and sharing a little dirt.
Having seen the film ‘Vice’ (linked here) recently, Adam McKay’s movie of the Dick Cheney’s influential years in American politics, it was hard not to compare the men. Dick Cheney, dedicated family man would never have attended such a party but he allowed − according to ‘Vice’ he actually facilitated − the death of many innocents for questionable goals?
Of course we judge anyone who willingly damages a life/lives far more harshly than someone who parties too hard, but we do expect a certain grown-up take on life from those who make the most important far-reaching decisions about our world. Negligence and financial self-feathering tend to create many other types of casualties and pain.
‘Loro’ and ‘Vice’ are both interesting films that are worth your attention, as much for the questions they provoke as for the films themselves. ‘Vice’ is the more mainstream of the movies, while ‘Loro’ is more art-house, attempting through cinematography to provoke the extravagant excess of Berlusconi’s life. Director Sorrentino has possibly focussed on capturing an ambience a bit too much and a little more detail would have been interesting.
To note: Silvio Berlusconi is again running for office, this time for a seat in EU’s parliament at the 23-26 May 2019 European elections. More here.