I've lived in Italy for so long that it's become very difficult to draw the line when it comes to the love/hate relationship I have with the place. Since I moved down south to Lecce - a gorgeous baroque town near some great beaches - my faith in Italy has been restored somewhat, especially after four years living in Rome.
Rome is pretty much at the top of my Love/Hate list. Amazing city to visit for a few days. But a tough city to live in on a lot of levels because it's so disfunctional day to day. What makes it bearable are the Romans whose sense of humor I just love.
Anyway, let's not get too touchy feely about the place. It's on the top of my list and just beats out the Vatican. And people like the woman who lives in my building who sounds the intercom daily to complain about stuff I have nothing to do with. She takes about three minutes to get through her daily spiel by the way.
But back to the Vatican. Don't get me wrong, I loved Pope Benedict's red Prada shoes. And Padre Georg is a hottie, but, I hate pretty much everything the Vatican and its crew stand for. And I especially hate how it's a city state when it wants to be, but at all other times it mooches off of Rome, Italy and basically anyone that pays taxes in Italy.
My love/hate list isn't just geographic. The director Paolo Sorrentino for example is also in my top ten. He's a brilliant director who I think has the best eye in the business. But I'm usually left feeling really bummed about his scripts [which he writes] and how his work is always some variation of the story a middle age guy with rockstar charisma who is having some kind of existential crisis.
That said, even though Sorrentino's new series The Young Pope, pretty much follows the recipe to a T, it's really enjoyable. Jude Law (who is just made for Love/Hate roles) is fantastic as the newly appointed fifty-something pope who is not the sweet and charming leader the pretty face would have you believe.
I just finished watching the first series and I have to say I really liked it.
There are times when I found it a bit heavy going, and a little dramatised for telly, but for the most part, Sorrentino's take on the Vatican is really enjoyable.
Love the humour that sneaks into the script and the brilliant cast [especially Silvio Orlando who is amazing in this]. But if you're not convinced about watching a show about the Vatican,the visuals alone might convince you to get involved.
It's about as cinematic as TV gets. So, Rome, the Vatican and Sorrentino have basically bought themselves another year on my love/hate list while I await the second series.
Have you seen it yet? What are your thoughts?
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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