Though it begins with an elaborate disclaimer regarding its status as a work of fiction, Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro (aka Them) is manifestly a portrait of Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy, media tycoon, populist, authoritarian, and playboy. Befitting its subject, the film is showy and often crude, filled with extended party scenes evoking the debauchery that surrounded Berlusconi. The atmosphere will be familiar to viewers of Sorrentino’s earlier film The Great Beauty (2013), which also centred on an ageing lech. Like that film, Loro stars Sorrentino’s regular collaborator Toni Servillo in the primary role, rendered unrecognisable here by Berlusconi’s trademark cosmetics.
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Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer and critic. She is the 2017-18 Writer in Residence at the UTS Centre for New Writing and the music critic for The Monthly. Her essays have appeared in publications including Meanjin, Island and The New Yorker.
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