Sorrentino’s daring Berlusconi biopic tipped for Cannes

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, who was on the jury of the Cannes film festival last year, could be showing there his biopic of Italy's former premier Silvio Berlusconi
AFP

Rome (AFP) – Exotic dancers, intrigue and poolside soirees in lavish villas, the hotly-awaited biopic about Italy’s former premier Silvio Berlusconi, from directing star Paolo Sorrentino, is tipped to appear at the Cannes film festival, according to Italian media.

The two-part film, which will hit Italian cinemas on April 24, is expected to delve into the private life of the flamboyant media magnate, from his famous “Bunga Bunga” erotic dinners with call girls, to his divorce from his second wife Veronica Lario.

Part two is due for release in Italy on May 10. 

The biopic is entitled “Loro” which means “them” and refers to the billionaire media magnate and his entourage — as well as evoking the word “l’oro” meaning “gold”, reports said.

A teaser for the film reveals the silhouette of the ageing magnate surrounded by exotic dancers as a voice asks:

“What were you expecting? That you could be the richest man in the country, to be prime minister and that everyone would be crazy for you?”

To which Berlusconi answers: “Yes, that’s exactly what I expected.” 

A full-length trailer released Thursday sees politicians and seductive young women looking on as Berlusconi croons to a Neopolitan classic “Malafemmena” meaning “bad girl” by an infinity pool in a glamourous villa.   

Berlusconi, 81, will be played by Sorrentino favourite Toni Servillo, who starred in “The Great Beauty” as well as the director’s 2008 biopic “Il Divo”, about another former Italian prime minister, Giulio Andreotti.

Gianpaolo Tarantini, the man accused of having supplied the self-proclaimed Latin Lover with prostitutes, will be played by Italy’s Riccardo Scamarcio.

Rumours have swirled in the media about the film and Sorrentino’s presence at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival which kicks off on the May 8, but it is not yet known whether “Loro” will be in competition or whether it will even be screened in its entirety. 

During filming in August last year, Italy’s Messaggero daily reported that Sorrentino had been received by Berlusconi and said the media magnate was only too happy to have a film made about his life by one of Italy’s most revered directors and had opened up his luxury villas in Sardinia and Milan.

But asked about the film in October as he geared up for a fourth shot a national governance, the tycoon appeared to have had a change of heart, saying:

“I have heard strange rumours, I hope they are not true, but (the film) seems to me to be a political attack against me”. 

During the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Sorrentino said of his choice to make the film:

“I am Italian and I want to make a film about Italians. Berlusconi is the archetype of ‘Italianness’ and through him I can tell the Italians’ story”.

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