In my opinion, Italian cinema has undergone, over the last thirty years, a drastic decline in quality, in comparison with both foreign cinema and the history of Italian cinema itself, which inspired many of the best directors in the world. world. Although several high-level personalities have emerged in the last decade, in this dark and unhappy sea there are still few bright lights to rely on. Among these the most radiant of all remains Paul Sorrentino, the best director on the Italian scene. In his twenty years in business, he has directed and written nine films and two miniseries The Young Pope And The New Pope, demonstrating a great ability to adapt to the communication medium of reference. In his films Sorrentino it tells the loneliness of individual characters, whose regrets and darker sides, obsessions, impulses and memories are shown, giving them a complete and subjective portrait at the same time. On the occasion of his 52nd birthday, we have sorted all of his films in order of preference.
In the last place we find Theirthe 2018 film focused on the figure of Silvio Berlusconibehind whose mask he hides Toni Servillo, the fetish actor of the Neapolitan director. In a project similar to that of The celebrity, which we will find much further in the rankings, the film focuses on the last years of a politician who dominated Italy. As bold as the idea is and the overall rendering adequate, the film does not go deep and does not prove as courageous as its premise. The superficiality of some choices directs the film almost towards the parody as an end in itself.
8. The great beauty
I bet many expected to find this film on the podium, if not in first place. It just sits in eighth place, not because it’s a bad movie, but because Sorrentino he directed and wrote much better. The itinerary on Rome traveled by Jep Gambardella neither The big beauty, winner of the Oscar in 2014, is made up of ups and downs. Among the highs how not to mention the many scenes of the festini della Roma bene and the poetic sequence of the Santa (horrendous flamingos aside). Among the bass I remember the redundancy of some concepts and scenes that lead the film to be too long.
7. This Must Be the Place
In his first English-language film, Sorrentino finds its favorite interpreter in Sean Penn, who will play the role of Cheyenne, a former rock star of the eighties who has now retired from the scene. Cheyenne is a man who lives on the fringes of society, anchored in a distant past and youth. The news of his father’s death will convince Cheyenne to go on a journey in search of a Nazi who, during the Second World War, had humiliated him. This Must Be the Place takes on the features of a road movie during which the protagonist will have the opportunity to come to terms with himself and his ghosts.
6. YOUTH – Youth
The following year the triumph at the Academy Awards, Sorrentino goes out to the cinema with Youth – Youth. The great merit of the film with Michael Caine And Harvey Keitel is to have perfected and refined, in the final outcome, a film like The great beauty. In both films, the protagonist is an elderly man who, after a period of notoriety and success, finds himself lost in search of something now lost linked to his youth. What is it that allowed this film to outclass the previous one? The essentiality of the material and the concreteness of the characters surrounding Fred Ballinger, who are not limited to being sketches but real, bodily characters.
5. The extra man
After directing a series of short films and collaborating with some directors of the Neapolitan scene, in 2001 Sorrentino he made his debut at the cinema with the feature film The extra man. And it is precisely within the Neapolitan reality that the film comes to life. In this meticulous representation of Naples in the 1980s, two different characters will face similar destinies: one is a footballer, the other a singer. Two things unite them: the name, Antonio Pisapia; what surrounds them will suffocate them in everything and for everything. Sorrentino immediately demonstrates his undisputed talent in the writing and characterization of his protagonists, through whose eyes he draws a reality made up of power games, corruption and greed that touches every branch of the community. Also noteworthy is the first collaboration between the director and Toni Servillowho in the film interprets the songs written by his brother Peppe Servillofrontman of the Avion Travel.
4. The family friend
The director’s third film tells us about Geremia de ‘Geremei, a usurer of the Agro Pontino played by Giacomo Rizzo, careful to lend money only to those who have the right to pay it back. It is known in the environment as Golden Heart for his goodness of mind in business, which vanishes when the latter fail; in these cases, the mask of the good man falls to leave room for the rot and viscidity that distinguishes him. The family friend of 2006 is one of the highest peaks of the cinema of Paolo Sorrentino from the point of view of the dialogues and the direction: the result is a film in which everything is shown, everything is exposed, without granting any kind of explanation. If it weren’t for some style lapses in the finale, the film would be in first place.
3. It was the hand of God
Direct It was the hand of God it may have been a real release for Paolo Sorrentino. After talking for twenty years about men at the sunset of their personal expression, in moments of perdition, which in some cases led to suicide, Sorrentino tells the reality through the eyes of a boy, Fabio “Fabietto” Schisa, in the prime of youth, who for the first time finds himself facing a strong trauma. In this highly personal film, Sorrentino tells about his adolescence and the Naples of the Eighties with the filter of subjectivity, not worrying about the accuracy of events and the reality of the facts. By doing this he managed, paradoxically, to make it all very true, approaching the operation done by Federico Fellini with his Amarcord.
2. The consequences of love
The most refined and elegant film of Sorrentinowith whom he forms an important partnership for his career, that is with the director of photography Luca Bigazzi, who managed to fully understand the director’s poetics and thought and translate it into images. Also in this 2004 film we are faced with a lonely man, Titta Di Girolamo, a financial broker who works on behalf of the underworld and who lives, in a sort of voluntary exile, in a hotel in Switzerland. Loneliness is imposed by an extremely rigid rigor, which has led him to minimize human and, above all, love relationships, highly dangerous for his lifestyle. The consequences of love are precisely those that Di Girolamo fears more than anything else.
1. The star
It is curious to note that what, personally, I consider to be the best film of Sorrentino is thus connected with his worst (always personally). Because The celebrity, a 2008 film about the 7th Andreotti Government, is a work of art that shows the past of Italian politics and that, at the same time, tells the current one, as if the dynamics were the same as at the time. The interpreters of politics are different but what lies behind them is always the same rot. Sorrentino tells a fragment of Italian history with a unique style, extremely over the top, bringing the film closer to the cinema of Tarantino And Sergio Leone, without however detaching himself from the reality of the facts. The mask, also present in Their, in this film it is extremely functional to the narration and serves only as a filter to make its content sweet and bitter at the same time: sweet for the general use of the film; bitter because it remembers that the facts told in the film really happened. The grotesque absurdities shown in the film, in the end, differ so much from the reality of the facts?