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“Loro” Looks at the Luxury and Lavishness of a Contemporary Italian Aristocrat: Berlusconi

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Photo / Focus Features

Italian Import Out Now in USA theaters

Paolo Sorrentino is no stranger to creating stories about the culture of wealth in his country. Several of the Itlaian director’s movies, including the Oscar winning “The Great Beauty” (2013), focus on aristocratic men and the lavish lives they lead. However, Sorrentino’s latest movie, “Loro” seems to up the ante in this regard and deliver an in-depth look at the wild and crazy, yet true life of Silvio Berlusconi at the height of his unbelievable career.

Silvio Berlusconi is a billionaire businessman who, in the mid-2000s, served as Prime Minister of Italy. As a businessman and as a politician, he was egocentric, extravagant, and above all, rich. And he wasn’t afraid to show it either. As Sorrentino’s film will show, he filled his life with parties, women, and luxuries beyond the scope of most mortal men. 

“Loro” aims to capture Berlusconi’s excessive lifestyle not only though narrative, but also through form and style. From the marketing alone, one can already tell that ornate set designs, infectious music, and loud energy fill this movie to the gills. Sorrentino is also reuniting with his signature cinematographer, Luca Bigazzi, who for “Loro,” seems to employ a technique of broken symmetry and jarring light, perhaps representing the zaniness that was Berlusconi.

Almost reliably, though, behind every story of wealth and rambunctiousness is a deeper layer of corruption, investigation, and deceit. Berlusconi’s story is no exception. The Loro, after all, refers to a group of fellow Italian businessmen and politicians who surrounded Berlusconi, aiding the man while also trying to get closer to the seat of power.

The movie will focus in particular on Sergio Morra, a sex-trafficker who manipulated and took advantage of Berlusconi as a client. It is but one example of the way lies and exploitation crept into Berlusconi’s eccentric little circle and those closest to him turned against him.

Trump Comparisons Inevitable?

Don’t paint Berlusconi as the victim just yet, though. Of course, the same also occurred the other way around. While Berlusconi served as the Prime Minister, he constantly—weather in material or symbolic ways—acted hedonistically, using his power and influence for jobs and treats that were not always in the country’s best interest. He acted similarly as a businessman, having huge control over Italian media to shape the ways people saw the country while he was in office.

For modern American viewers, this begs the question of weather or not “Loro” is meant to be a Trump analogy. The film is not American-made, but it will be getting an American release on September 20th. It will be a challenge for contemporary audiences to watch the story of Berlusconi, a businessman turned politician, and not think of the current man in the oval office. The Trump administration and American politics may not be as blatantly scandalous or sexy as the Italian scene, but intension aside, perhaps the movie will still be able to resonate on multiple levels.

Silvio Berlusconi has been the subject of several documentaries and feature films over the years, but never in such a forward fashion or from such an established director. With a two-and-a-half-hour runtime, “Loro” is bound to be an exciting and enlightening experience. Let’s hope that the audiences can keep up.


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