Sara Vilkomerson’s Third Stringer: Politics, Italian-Style

c stringer4il divo 2 Sara Vilkomersons Third Stringer: Politics, Italian StyleWe’re in that weird time zone of movie releases right now, somewhere between studio dumping grounds and their big-budget extravaganzas (only two more weeks till X-Men Origins: Wolverine!). But for those searching for some quality filmmaking, look no further than film festival favorite and winner of Cannes’ jury prize Il Divo, a fascinating portrait of seven-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (for some, his nickname is “Beelzebub”), which opens this weekend at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

Written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, the film stars a superb Toni Servillo, and spans more than 40 years of Italian politics. Here is probably the right time to mention that we do not know very much about Italian politics (or actually, nothing at all about it—perhaps if we knew more, the film would feel different) but that doesn’t matter; Il Divo manages to be rather thrilling, and at times surprisingly funny. And hey, what’s not to like about power and corruption and scandal and the mafia? From the moment we meet Andreotti, with acupuncture needles sticking out of his face and hopes to cure his headache, we want to understand this enigmatic figure. Whether anyone really does—even his wife—is unclear.

There’s something downright Scorsese-like about this film, from its beautiful camera work to its deft use of music. We guarantee you you’ll never think of the Trio song “Da Da Da” quite the same way again.

svilkomerson@observer.com