Director: Roberto Andò | 94 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Michela Cescon, Gianrico Tedeschi, Eric Nguyen, Andrea Renzi, Judith Davis, Brice Fournier, Paolo Bessegato, Giulia Andò, Alessandro Averone, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Stella Kent, Massimo De Francovich, Renato Scarpa, Anna Bonaiuto, Marielle de Rocca-Serra, Guillaume Faure, Olivier Martinaud, Tibor Radvanyi, Federico Torre
Actor Toni Servillo has been a beloved actor since “La grande belleza”. In that film the destruction of the city of Rome was immortalized. “Viva la libertà” (director Roberto Andò filmed his own book) takes a different approach, it celebrates freedom and life. As in a folk tale, the viewer is introduced to the film under bombastic classical music. This is not so much the truth presented here, but rather a playful parody of it. With Toni Servillo as a great eye-catcher.
The story. Political leader of the Italian opposition Enrico Oliveri (Servillo) is tired of the world. His party is almost doomed. His political assistant Andrea Bottini shadows him wherever he can. He has not seen his wife for a while because of their busyness. When Enrico does not show up at a meeting about Europe, the turnips are done. He fled to France.
In the meantime, Andrea has his hands in her hair, trying with all his might to find a solution. The political game simply has to continue. The outcome comes in the person of Enrico’s bipolar twin brother Giovanni (a double role by Servillo). Since no one knows the politician really well, this is not a problem. In fact, the half-mad Giovanni passionately turns the entire political system upside down. Where his brother is always serious – a typical statesman – his kinsman is constantly cheerful, open and able to joke. That frankness is catching on with the people. On the basis of philosophical one-liners, he slowly brings about a change in the parliamentary world. No more political hypocrisy, but the sincere truth is the motto. But when the depressed Enrico slowly comes to himself, a new problem arises for the party.
“Viva la libertà” introduces a crazy, political world that, despite its exaggerated character, nevertheless has interfaces with reality. The deadlock that really prevails in Italy is greatly exaggerated. The mistake of personality is perhaps a bit too farcical, but it never makes the film too serious. And that works well. On the other hand, the events surrounding Enrico continue to float around a bit too much. “Viva la libertà” is stylized, but not over the top. Because the film tries to approach reality, the aesthetics remain limited. In fact, “Viva la libertà” expressly wants to hold up a mirror to the viewer. Because, according to Director Andò, politics is like life itself. Just like in cinema, politics is introduced as a reflection of life. The film cleverly responds to this through the many comparisons between film and politics, both of which serve as windows on the world.
The strained rules of Italian politics that “Viva la libertà” reveals are a source of entertainment. Yet somewhere the thought lingers that the film cannot choose between undivided farce and political or human drama. Nevertheless, it is by no means torture to watch “Viva la libertà”. Embrace the freedom! With a wonderful Toni Servillo as tour guide.