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Politics is entertainment now. Just one long performance. Witness Silvio Berlusconi who foreshadows the rise of Trump (the two are remarkably similar). Loro satirizes Berlusconi as he starts to lose his grip on power about ten years ago. Under Berlusconi the route to influence and authority is not through enlightenment or better ways of doing business, but trafficking young women, reality shows, lavish parties, yachts and cocaine.
Loro doesn't just take a dim view of Berlusconi, it provides a realistic portrayal of the man. We see the charming salesman who understands human nature and capitalizes on this knowledge. Truth is in tone of voice. "I don't know," says Berlusconi "I understand." Toni Servillo's brilliant performance as Berlusconi heightens this effect. The average Italian, Berlusconi maintains, has the intelligence of second grader. Altruism is the best way to be selfish, for in this way he appears to be good. The ultimate judgement is left to Berlusconi's wife Veronica. "You had the opportunity to help Italy and its people," she says "but you helped yourself instead."
Besides Veronica, there are intriguing portraits of other characters in Berlusconi's orbit. One of them is a very successful, intelligent and beguiling escort. "Girls like me," she says "are stupid when we dream."
Loro provides a fascinating, raw, imaginative and frightening look into the realities of modern politics from the uniquely in-your-face Italian vantage point. It is as wacky as it is cerebral. The film is fast paced and jarring in a good way. Seat shaking base music, rapid dialogue, incredible island villas, stylish clothes, impressive machinery and eye-popping nudity kept me on the edge of my seat. Loro is disjointed at times because there is so much going on, but the general effect is pleasing. The ending of the film is totally unique and perfect for the subject matter; what is important hopefully survives the disaster of modern politics. Knowledge and interest in Italian politics is recommended. Seen at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
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