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When Cinema Clears History

Restyling and consequently marketing operations, such as in the case of “The Queen” or “Il Divo” rehabilitate controversial characters, with full success. It’s not always...


Queen Elizabeth II had already experienced a delicate moment seeing her approval drop to a minimum; it was during the disaster in Aberfan, Wales, in 1966 where 144 people died, including 116 children. The Queen reached the scene of the disaster only after eight days, arousing the indignation of the entire British people. The excuse was not to obstruct rescue.

Since history loves to repeat itself, the mysterious death of Lady Diana on August 28, 1996, allowed her to repeat the same mistake. He remained on the estate of Balmoral, as he said, to protect his grandchildren, instead of returning to London to honor the detested daughter-in-law with his people. Only after about ten days and the insistence of Prime Minister Tony Blair, he decided to return to London, bow his head in front of the sea of flowers laid on the ground together with hundreds of photos of Lady D., to win back the applause of her subjects.

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This was helped by the operation "The Queen" studied at the desk, to restore the sense of humanity and present the side of a loving grandmother to a Queen who had put in serious trouble the crown of England. 

In reality, with a pragmatic sense, Elizabeth realized, through the television images that showed day after day an oceanic crowd in front of Buckingham Palace that the sad Princess, as she is called Diana by "her people" was becoming a symbol and well knew that the form is substance, especially in a monarchy that of living symbols and without symbols dies.

The success of the film was extraordinary and consequently the image of the Queen was totally "cleaned up", thanks to and above all to that extraordinary actress who played her, Helen Mirren.

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Another splendid performance has given great prestige to an Italian film, that of Toni Servillo in "Il Divo", where he plays the most discussed and most feared politician for sixty years, Giulio Andreotti.

In the opinion of the writer, the film follows the operation studied at the desk above: that is, restore moral and public dignity to the politician accused of kissing the bloodiest mafia boss in Italian history, Totò Riina, and plotted to kill the journalist Mimmo Pecorelli. Prosecutions that have seen Andreotti acquitted but that are not enough to get a public virginity.

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In spite of the many witnesses who swear to have found the Senator upset after watching the film, the writer has the firm and clear conviction that the screenplay of the film was written for the most part by Andreotti himself and that the director, as an author, he lent himself to the play of the parties to maintain confidentiality.

Without going into the merits of the absurdities said by the various witnesses, of which statements are kept, there are three clues that in jurisprudence make a test, to support this thesis. 

One: The scene of Judge Caselli combing his hair, spraying the hairspray and waving his head as if it were "free and beautiful"; the peak of sublime perfidy to give narcissus and to mock the enemy, worthy of the best humorist who lived in Andreotti. Other authors dream of such sagacity. 

Two: the scene of the monologue is pure personal self-absolution, at least political; I did what I did because it had to be done in the interest of the community. In the end I sacrificed myself. Of the series: it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Which, however, is a proud assumption of responsibility of much different caliber than the miserable whining: "I obeyed orders". 

The third clue is itchy, it sounds like a posthumous derision against those who, always derided him for his physicality. Laugh, laugh, but I too have had my romantic adventures with beautiful women, willing to go to the antechamber to meet me. Wonderful scene with that look of desire between the beautiful nurse and the President, sick, lying on the bed. Only Andreotti’s grace and discretion could have imagined such a scene.

As they say in the jargon, "It’s a question of perspective!"

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Then the director, Paolo Sorrentino, tried a similar operation with the two films "Loro", designed to "repaint" the image of Silvio Berlusconi. An operation flaunted for months through all the media, even before the start of shooting, thus creating an excessive expectation. As a result, the first film was watched by an entire apartment building, while the second one was seen only by the doorman, without even his family.

And here it is a matter of numbers. 

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