Italian cinema is the sick child of the global industry.

After the tremendous upsurge of the 1960s and 1970s, such a long recession began - creative, economic, that only by the 2000s italo-cinema began to wake up. 

Somehow directors such as Nanni Moretti (who cannot be called a newcomer) began to perform strongly - "Son's Room" in 2001, Ermanno Olmi (who is not at all a debutant) with the film "Medici: War Knight" (2001), Gianni Amelio (who is shooting from the 1970s) with Keys to Home (2004) and so on. The most interesting thing is that the surge of high-quality cinema was not at all ensured by the arrival of some "new generation" in cinema, no - already established masters got the opportunity to shoot at a different level. 

But this cinema, widely accepted at festivals and among critics, still remained quite invisible to the Russian public.

Please note: in raising a new wave, for example, the director Paolo Sorrentino participated with the film "Amazing" (2008) about Giulio Andreotti.

Raise your hand, who saw him (I am not asking about who knows who Andreotti is and why he is important for Italy).

Sit down, two.

The local public did not notice that very Sorrentino, about which any rural hipster speaks with aspiration nowadays.

And he, by the way, has not changed.

And for Andreotti he was nominated for an Oscar, and received a jury prize in Cannes.

But only recently it was Sorrentino that became the hallmark of Italian cinema for the Russian public.

So who is he?

His youth began with a nightmare: when he was 16 years old, he went on a weekend from his parents' house in Naples to a match with Maradona and immediately learned that without him his parents had suffocated with carbon monoxide.

From the stove.

In general, he did not cultivate any special creative abilities in himself - he never remembers whether he liked to go to the cinema or did not like, whether he was engaged in photography and painting and in general.

And he went to study at the Faculty of Economics - closer to money, and not to creativity.

And only at the age of twenty-five he realized that he wanted to work in films.

He made his first short film, Love Has No Limits, in 1998.

Quite a cute story about a professional hitman who met his true love.

But already his first full-length film "The Superfluous Man" in 2001 is considered to be exactly the film that dispersed the marsh duckweed, which tugged at the mirror of Italian cinema. Sorrentino here abandoned the buffoonery, which became the gold standard of the previous era, and went along a very fine line between drama and comedy. Although, of course, it is difficult to treat a film where people are killed a little like a comedy. But the picture about two young guys who suddenly found themselves on the sidelines of their profession and life turned out to be restrainedly touching. And the audience appreciated it. There are many songs sung by the performer of one of the main roles, Tony Servillo. One of the songwriters is Paolo Sorrentino himself. And for subtle connoisseurs among his Italian audience, he also confesses his love for the classic cinema of the country - here you can hear Relaxin with Chet by Chet Baker and Piero Umiliani,unsung hero, composer of a huge number of Italian films since 1954.

The film was shown for the first time as part of the Cinema del Presente section of the 2001 Venice Film Festival.

The director of photography for Sorrentino's debut film was Pasquale Mari, who has since directed all the latest films of the Italian classic Marco Bellocchio.

And I think, at the suggestion of Pasquale, Marie Sorrentino began to form his "high" visual style, from which all the housewives of Moscow and the surrounding area would scream at "Great Beauty" and "Young Pope".

In 2004, again according to his own script, he removes "The Consequences of Love" - ​​a criminal love story of an outwardly boring business consultant who advises the mafia.

Starring again, Tony Servillo. 

And it was in this picture that he found his cameraman - Luca Bigazzi, who determined the very "Sorrentine" image of the frame and its color.

And it is even understandable why the public considers Bigazzi's picture so beautiful and understandable - these are usually people who grew up on commercials, and not on cinema.

Because Bigazzi was formed by filming ads.

Today he has seven David di Donatello awards for Best Cinematography for various films for various Italian directors.

In the same year, he returned to collaborate with Servillo, filming the television version of Eduardo De Filippo's comedy Saturday, Sunday, Monday for Rai 2, which aired on the night of December 25.

Family Friend 2006 is a rather dark movie (again by Sorrentino himself), and only Bigazzi makes it a picture acceptable to today's superficial audience.

The film immediately appeared at the Cannes Film Festival.

The music was written by Theo Teardo - rocker, founder of the Italian band Meathead.

The film was received by the public worse than the previous one.

Sorrentino decided to raise his self-esteem and starred as an actor with Nanni Moretti in the film "Cayman".

And then he shot a FIAT commercial for the Croma with the very popular actor Jeremy Irons for 45 seconds.

International success brought the director the film "Amazing" / Il Divo (2008), where Giulio Andreotti plays Tony Servillo.

Andreotti is such a cool character in Italian history that sometimes it seems that Italy sees in him the quintessence of itself.

A man who, in his youth, wrote articles for the fascist magazine Rivista del Lavoro and ... at the same time for the underground Il Popolo.

A subtle researcher of history and the political process and a man who was imprisoned for 28 years, as it were for the murder of a journalist, but released.

He was accused of having links with the mafia and was respected for his contributions to the development of the Italian film industry.

And Sorrentino coped with it - with all this scale of personality.

Therefore - the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and such delight among the European public.

Music again by Theo Teardo and - surprisingly - by the Finnish classical composer Sibelius ("Daughter of the North"). 

Talent and contradictions are in general Sorrentino's element.

He sees this conflict and considers it quite logical in everything.

Therefore, it is no wonder that on September 27, 2009, he was one of those who signed a letter in defense of the director Roman Polansky.

Meanwhile, his pen, sharpened in scripts, encroached on large forms, and in 2010 he published his first novel - They Have All Reasons - for the publishing house Feltrinelli, for which he was nominated for the literary awards Premio Strega and Alabarda d'oro ...

The novel is certainly inspired by the character in Sorrentino's first film, The Superfluous Man, 2001.

It is especially popular in the form of an audiobook, because the text is read by Tony Servillo himself.

From what they could have missed - Paolo's participation in the collective film "Naples 24" (short story "Princess of Naples").

It's also worth checking out another ad that Sorrentino shot for lingerie manufacturer Yamamay.

In Cannes, Sorrentino met Sean Penn, who then served on the jury there.

And he invited him to star in the first English-language film "Wherever You Are". 

This is a rather strange movie - Sorrentino was about to make an ironic film about a Nazi criminal who fled to the States.

For the sake of irony, he invented a character - a former rocker from the group Cheyenne and the Fellows, which is literally copied from Robert Smith.

Because Sorrentino is a fan of The Cure.

Sean Penn is looking for a Nazi who tortured his grandfather in a concentration camp.

Well, it turned out quite contradictory - uneven.

The soundtrack, which was written by David Byrne of Talking Heads (in fact, the very name This Must Be the Place is a Talking Heads song) and alternative folk singer Will Oldham under the collective pseudonym The Pieces of Shit.

However, Iggy Pop with "The Passenger" also sounds there.

Well, in general, the budget of the film is € 28 million, the box office is € 11 million.

However, Sorrentino and co-writer Umberto Contarello won the 2012 David di Donatello Award for Best Screenplay.

Let's remember this name - Contarello.

This is the scriptwriter of "Octopus", who is very well known to the Russian TV viewer.

Because Sorrentino's next breakthrough "Great Beauty" (and "Young Pope") is directly related to Contarello's lyrics.

"Great Beauty" was shown at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

And despite the fact that Italian critics were not very pleased with the picture, it raised € 9 million in Italy, and then around the world - another € 20 million.

The film won four European Film Awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Editing), Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film.

And in March 2014, the film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, 15 years after the triumph of the last Italian film in the same category, Roberto Benigni's film Life is Beautiful (1999).

The director raised the statuette along with Tony Servillo and Nicola Giuliano.

In his speech, he thanked the film's actors, staff and crew, his family, the cities of Rome and Naples and his sources of inspiration represented by Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese, Talking Heads and Diego Armando Maradona, and finally dedicated the award to his late parents.

Since then, it can be said that Paolo Sorrentino has once again raised the banner of the famous Italian cinema.

For me it’s so interesting why the Russian public was impressed by the “Great Beauty”, while the Italian pros rejected it.

Italians, unlike Muscovites, understand that Paolo was clearly trying to fit into the pants of Fellini and his Fellini's Roma.

They subtly sensed that they were trying to feed them with bullshit with a pretense beyond their rank.

Perhaps this is local snobbery, but there is something in it.

If only because Sorrentino is not Fellini even once.

Tony Servillo is the successful writer again.

Russians see a beautiful picture from Luca Bigazzi in the film, and vacation memories of flavored pizza are overwhelming.

But the difference in the perception of the film is determined precisely by the difference between tourism and immigration.

The painting "Youth" (2015), which was nominated for the "Golden Bough" in Cannes, I see as a much more serious work.

No wonder movie monsters play here - Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.

David Leung's Simple Song # 3, performed by Sumi Yo, was nominated for an Oscar, as if continuing the tradition of Italian opera.

And the picture itself is not about youth and not about old age - about those worlds that are crowded in human consciousness.

Well, since 2016, Sorrentino has been busy with the series "Young Pope", which became a revelation for a huge number of viewers: "Was it possible?" 

An amazing work, where the contradictory content and sarcasm of the authors are polished to a shine with a picture of Luca Bigozzi, cutting off the intellectually sterile from consumption.

Jude Law as the fictional "new pope" Pius XIII.

The Russian viewer, when watching, is usually tormented by the question: "How did the Vatican not cover them?"

- however, the in-depth approach brings out a deeply Christian background to the entire show.

Great dialogues and picturesque shots.

The title song of the triple distillation is originally written by Bob Dylan All Along The Watchtower, brought into hit form by Jimi Hendrix, and instrumental recorded by the artist Devlin (there is a version of the same track with Ed Sheeran himself).

Only ten episodes of pure buzz, especially if you watch it for the first time.

The Catholic press did not favor the series, caustically stating that "the show is aimed at pleasing the American viewer" - a subtle hint that the American public is traditionally Protestant, and has not favored the Pope and the throne since the days of Luther.

Although what the hell is Luther in America?

Perhaps King.

But it became clear that Sorrentino had opened new valves in an old television format.

Indeed, in Italy almost imitators of Paolo began to appear.

Take, for example, the authors of the series Miracle: Tears of the Madonna, written by Niccolo Ammaniti.

Despite the fact that Ammaniti is an accomplished writer and screenwriter - his "You and I" was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci - the series turned out exactly as if it was written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino.

Immediately after The Pope, he removes Loro about Silvio Berlusconi.

And it should be noted that here he again deals with a contradictory phenomenon in Italian politics and comes out of the fight with dignity and without quirks.

Berlusconi is played by Tony Servillo.

And then came the second season of Daddy, The New Daddy (2019), starring John Malkovich.

Despite the popular love for John Malkovich, the second season was greeted more calmly - the feeling of culture shock passed.

I personally didn’t see it to the end.


In theory, we should continue to wait on Netflix for a new film in 2021, "The Hand of God".

The Diego Maradona Foundation has already tried to play against the film, which claims that no one can use the name without them, which refers to the famous goal against the British in 1986.

But we know that Paolo Sorrentino connects the issue of life and death with Maradona, so he will deal with the fund.

But what is especially pleasant is that he does not slow down the creative pace.

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.