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9 March 2017

Film Review: The Confessions

Film Review: The Confessions

What could happen if the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund decided to commit suicide in a G8 meeting?

Three years after Long Live Freedom (Viva la Libertà, 2013), Roberto Andò keeps investigating the relationship between contemporary politics and economy in a new film: The Confessions (Le Confessioni, 2016).The state treasures of the eight most powerful countries meet informally in a luxurious hotel in Germany. The meeting goal is to introduce important economic reforms that will risk changing the world completely.

Three special guests are also invited to the meeting, but they don’t belong to the world of economics: a rock star, a children novel writer and a monk of the Carthusian order, Roberto Salus (Toni Servillo). After a night spent talking with the monk, Rochè, IMF Director, commits suicide. Fearing that the IMF Director revealed the secret purpose of their meeting, the state treasures challenge the monk to reveal the topic of the conversation, but he took a vow of silence and he sticks to it.

The treasurers have to face a problem which is not as physically violent as a military protest can be, but it still threatens the outcome of the meeting.  The obstacle posed by the monk is a subtle move, which enables him to detain a great power on his adversaries. Salus defends his ethical values opposing to the dominant culture that considers time as the most precious thing we have. According to the state treasures, time is money, but it has a different meaning for Salus.

The film’s dialogue sounds very plausible and realistic because each of the actors speaks the language of the character they plays.

At the same time, there is a sort of dreamlike atmosphere that can recall Sorrentino’s masterpiece The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza, 2013). Salus is a singular person, as a modern version of St. Francis of Assisi, he speaks with animals and records the birds singing.

Once again, Tony Servillo shows his great acting skills. He is versatile and able to impersonate different characters enriching each one of them with a various set of emotions. His range of expressions builds well-round characters with depth. The astonishing and touching score by Nicola Piovani, who won an Academy Award for Life is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella, 1997) deserves a special mention, too.

Review by Cosimo Bastiani

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