Frequently referred to as Sorrentino’s „muse“, the chameleon-like Toni Servillo has been the Italian director’s leading man for the best part of his career. Their stellar partnership was ignited in 2001 with their first collaboration on Sorrentino’s debut feature film, L’UOMO DI PIU. In 2004 Servillo assumed the role of a dignified gangster in Sorrentino’s THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE, and the actor-director duo re-united once more in 2008 for a portrayal of infamous Italian prime minister, Guilio Andreotti in Il DIVO. 2013 was a landmark year with LA GRANDE BELLEZZA – Sorrentino’s lavish portrait of an ageing writer played by Servillo – winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. And this year the formidable pair are back with their second depiction of an Italian prime minister, this time detailing the notoriously naughty personal life of Silvio Berlusconi in LORO. Few director-actor collaborations have succeeded in producing such a wealth of cinematic gems. Sorrentino has even likened Servillo to a father-figure (both his parents died in an accident when he was 16).
In preparation for DCM’s much anticipated release of LORO in Germany and Switzerland, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to the glistening career of the Sorrentino-Servillo partnership.
L’uomo in più
The debut feature Sorrentino is a stylish and blackly comic look at the dark side of fame. Evocatively set during the eighties, the film charts the decline of two men both named Antonio Pisapia who lead entirely separate yet strangely parallel lives.
”„I have a very light, playful relationship with the actors on set, and with Toni in particular. We've always been on the same wavelength, no doubt due to our ironic side and our sense of humour. With him I try to create a calm atmosphere on set – not too earnest – and to work with a sense of lightness, avoiding complaints. I try to avoid the whole thing being too heavy, because actors can get stressed if they feel they are trying to make an ambitious film. It's vital in my opinion to ease that pressure.Paolo Sorrentino Festival de Cannes 2017
The Consequences of Love
”Viele Gründe, die mich dazu bewegen, zu schreiben oder zu filmen sind angelehnt an einer Dekonstruktion der Beziehung – oder der Mangel an einer – zu meinem Vater. Toni, als Schauspieler, gibt mir die Möglichkeit im Laufe der Filme diese Beziehung zu meinem Vater zu erforschen, insbesondere aufgrund des Altersunterschieds. Er ist mir eine paternelle Figur - Servillo ist 54 und ich bin 43. Wenn ich mich zu viel psychoanalysiere, werde ich ängstlich und erforsche das nicht so tiefgehend, wie ich gern würde. Ich übertrage viel dieser Analysen der Beziehung, die ich mit meinem Vater hatte, auf Toni.Paolo Sorrentino IndieWire 2014
The film follows the inscrutable bureacrat and postwar political survivor Giulio Andreotti: three times prime minister and Realpolitik specialist, leader of the notionally centrist Christian Democrat party and the silent spider at the centre of a vast conspiratorial web of shady deals.
La Grande Bellezza
Summer – Rome shines in its full splendour: beautiful and alluring. Just like Jep Gambardellas life of unadulterated pleasure: sweeping parties, Gourmet restaurants, beautiful women and vulgar people. It seems everything is there for the taking. As a succesful journalist with boundless charm, he is the crowning jewel of every event. But behind the incorrigible debaucherer lies a disillusioned man who is increasingly bored by the superficiality of opulent roman society. Then, on his 65th birthday, something becomes clear to him: everything is ephemeral, and his time is running out. Even in the eternal city.
”What helped us is that we know each other very well. We also know that typical Neapolitan character, that figure of a dandy, which is Jep Gambardella. That's a character which has often been portrayed in novels, so we are very familiar with that kind of man.Toni Servillo on JepSBS TV
”This role is the opposite. Andreotti was portrayed as a very cold machine; the symbol of loneliness and of the mystery of the impossibility to grasp power. He was this powerful figure, whereas Jep is someone we might call a cynical sentimentalist.Toni Servillo über Andreotti und GambardellaCorriere della Serra
A satirical, profane, and imaginative fictionalization of controversial Italian tycoon and politician Silvio Berlusconi and his inner circle.
For the second time in his career, Paolo Sorrentino satirizes the tumult of Italian politics through the experiences of an infamous politician, a man who in real life is still running for office.
”They’re two different films about two entirely distinct men. Andreotti embodies an authority that derives from the secret closets of power. He was a great mystery. With IL DIVO, I tried to find out whether there was any ounce of feeling in him whatsoever. With Berlusconi, his capacity to attune to the emotional worlds of those around him is blindingly obvious.Paolo Sorrentino on IL DIVO and LORO Il Mattino