Monday, 29 September 2014
Toni Servillo - Shy People Notice Everything
Tweed Pig Laureate: Toni Servillo
I would like to announce the recipient of our first Tweed Pig Laureate: the Italian actor, Toni Servillo. Congratulations Toni. A round of applause please, gentlemen.
How we all enjoyed his performance in The Great Beauty. After watching his performance in The Consequences of Love recently, the award seemed obvious.
As well as being one of the best smokers on celluloid, Toni — of Afragola, Italy — chooses his films and directors well. Paolo Sorrentino directed The Great Beauty and The Consequences of Love.
Both films are staged and shot beautifully, and have a visually meditative quality, with isolated protagonists, played wonderfully by Servillo, who have difficulty reconciling the certainties of the past with the fragmentary nature of the present.
Italian cinema seems the most grown-up of contemporary cinema, particularly with the work of Sorrentino, who is fast becoming our favourite director. (Another Tweed Pig Laureate in the offing?) Too many films are coming out of America about adult men behaving (and dressing) like children. I'm looking at you Seth Rogen.
The Consequences of Love
In The Consequences of Love (2004) [Amazon], Servillo plays Titta di Girolamo, a resident of a hotel in Lugano, Switzerland. He is a detached observer, rather than participant, of life being lived around him. Of his withdrawal, Titta reflects, "Shy people notice everything, but they don't get noticed."
We witness Titta's quiet routines, such as his daily coffee and cigarette in the reception of the hotel, and other less savoury rituals. However, traces of the former life that brought him to this point are revealed; the estrangement from his past becomes apparent. He is suffering a life of concealed purgatory.
Salvation — or perhaps redemption — comes to Titta when he decides to rejoin the living. A waitress at the hotel — confronting him on his failure to acknowledge her — finally lifts him out of his apathy. With echoes of Mann's Death in Venice, Titta makes his choice — rejecting the solitude of his existence and embracing the consequences of love.
Right now I think this is an even better film than The Great Beauty. Do see it, and you'll see why we chose to hurl laurels over Toni's head.
Tweedy's Thought: If you would like to nominate someone deserving of a 'Golden Pig', the new informal name for these awards, please get in touch. No one noisy or who swears a lot, please. Let's not let this idea wither on the vine. Unless it's palpably terrible.