Florence, early XVI century. Although widely considered a genius by his contemporaries, Michelangelo Buonarroti (Alberto Testone) is reduced to poverty and depleted by his struggle to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When his commissioner and head of the Della Rovere nobility Pope Julius II dies, Michelangelo becomes obsessed with sourcing the finest marble to complete his tomb. The artist's loyalty is tested when Leo X, of the rival Medici family, ascends to the papacy and charges him with a lucrative new commission - the façade of the San Lorenzo basilica. Forced to lie to maintain favour with both families, Michelangelo is progressively tormented by suspicion and hallucinations, leading him to ruthlessly examine his own moral and artistic failings. Written and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, IL PECCATO (SIN) is a gripping reflection on the agony and ecstasy of individual greatness, and the profound humanity behind the legend of the Renaissance.
Up until the final scene, Il Peccato seems a beautiful chaos, with an apparently random series of scenes that seem to go nowhere in particular. But, alas, the finale might be enlightening.
Konchalovsky's film obviously echoes Andrei Rublev, even though it can't be but a shadow if compared to Tarkovsky's masterwork, by portraying Michelangelo as a troubled artist that feels out of place in his brutal times. Unlike Rublev, Michelangelo is however torn by less religious themes, even though he too complains about the brutality of his commissioners, the Della Rovere and the Medici families. Always in economic difficulties, always aspiring to a sublime that he identifies in poet Dante Alighieri, never able to settle in one place, fueled by an inner omnipresent rage. Ultimately, Michelangelo's titular 'sin' is not revealed, but it might be pride: he makes no secret of how he considers himself to be a genius far above anyone else, he tries to do overly impossible things without accomplishing them entirely. A physical representation of his pride might constitute the huge marble block seen in the poster, that pays a specific role in part of the film.
The cast is made up of less well-known italian actors, but Alberto Testa in particular seems the perfect choice in terms of appearance to play the Renaissance Sculptor. Equally particular is the choice to shoot the movie in 4:3 aspect ratio. The coloring however somehow reminded of Sokurov's Faust.
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