Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ando', Viva la liberta'

Now here is one of the best Italian movies I've seen in a long time. Doesn't hurt that it features Toni Servillo in two roles, playing a major left-wing politician and his recently deinstitutionalized identical twin, who's still on meds.

The politician is sick and tired of Italian politics and leaves the country (this in itself proves his sanity.) But he has left secretly, with no explanation. His cronies are in a panic and decide to replace him with his twin brother. The crazy twin takes to his new role with gusto, and inspires the dwindling and disheartened Left. In the meantime the real politician is in Paris a' la recherche du temps perdu, just like Proust. As we know, this isn't going to work. What will happen? The suspense is part of the interest of the movie.

But just as important is the skillful handling of multiple themes such as mental illness, the crisis of the Left, regrets over the past and the choices made in life, and the future of Italy, and indeed of the West in general.

Big shout out to director Roberto Ando', who directed and wrote the book on which the movie is based. Also, look out for the touching speech given by the "crazy" twin, based on a poem by Bertolt Brecht. The poem is depressingly relevant, even after all these decades.