Sorrentino focuses lens on Andreotti


ROME -- Director Paolo Sorrentino, twice nominated for the Cannes Palme d'Or, said Thursday that he is starting work on a film about seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti.

The 88-year-old Andreotti is one of the most powerful and polarizing figures of Italy's post-war period, with allegedly strong but shadowy ties to both the Vatican and the Mafia.

The fictional character Don Licio Lucchesi from Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part III" -- a pro-Church political kingpin with Mafia ties, played by Italian character actor Enzo Robutti -- is widely reported to have been modeled on Andreotti, the only member of the current Italian parliament elected when it was first created in 1946.

Sorrentino said he could not resist focusing on Andreotti in his the follow-up to last year's critically acclaimed black drama "L'Amico di Famiglia" (Friend of the Family).

Sorrentino -- who calls Andreotti "the sacred monster of Italian public life" -- said he has met with Andreotti twice to discuss the as-yet-unnamed project.

"Andreotti accepted the idea with a sort of kind indifference," Sorrentino said. "He asked me what he had ever done to deserve having a film made about him."

In addition to last year's nomination at Cannes, Sorrentino was nominated in 2004 for "Consequenze dell'Amore" (Consequences of Love). That film won him three David di Donatello awards the following year -- for best director, film and screenplay.