After Paolo Sorrentino’s virtuoso evisceration of Italian politician Giulio Andreotti in “Il Divo,” expectations were sky high that the distinctive director would bring a similar caustic bravura to his treatment of Silvio Berlusconi. Yet “Loro 1,” the first of a two-part kaleidoscopic consideration of the four-time prime minister and the Italy he fostered, is not so much an invigorating acid bath as a subtly written, stylistically more classical look at one of the most divisive European leaders in recent memory....
Sorrentino is a hotter property than ever, having written and directed hit 2016 English-language TV series “The Young Pope,” toplining Jude Law, and won the foreign-language Oscar in 2014 for “The Great Beauty.”
One of the few continental European directors who regularly work with A-list English-language actors, the 46-year-old auteur has developed a distinctive filmmaking style characterized by non-naturalistic narratives, kinetic visuals and a signature satirical streak present throughout his seven feature films and also in “Pope,” which is a rare case of a non-British European skein with a substantial U.S. fan base.
Born and raised in Naples but now based in Rome, Sorrentino brought a breath of fresh air to Italy’s static cinema scene with his first feature, “One Man Up,” which bowed in Venice in 2001. His six subsequent films have all launched from the Cannes competition section, a rare feat. Of these, “Il Divo,” a pop portrayal of Italy’s seven-time former prime minister Giulio Andreotti, impressed fest juror Sean Penn and led to their collaboration in “This Must Be the Place,” Sorrentino’s first English-language film.
He has since worked with, among others, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel on “Youth,” and with Diane Keaton on “Pope,” her first recurring role in a TV series. and then there’s Law, of course. “Pope,” which made a splash in the U.S. on HBO, has been sold around the world.
Sorrentino’s next project is “Loro,” an Italian-language biopic about mogul Silvio Berlusconi. He’s at work as well on “The New Pope,” a sequel series of sorts to “Young Pope” that will focus on a new character.