Fellini's heir apparent, Paolo Sorrentino is a filmmaker whose mastery of the camera has produced images that edge towards the ecstatic. This became clear with his sophomore feature – the first to be distributed internationally – 'The Consequences of Love' (2004). Starring his on-screen alter-ego Toni Servillo, the film is a gangster drama dressed up as a character study of an elegant man living alone in a beautiful Swiss lakeside hotel. His past unlocks the mystery of who he is but his future is decided by the people he encounters on a daily basis. From it's lengthy opening shot the film is a gorgeously shot – by regular cinematographer Luca Bigazzi – and darkly humorous tale.
Misanthropy is thrown into the mix for 'The Family Friend' (2006), a tale of greed and desire with a sting in its tale. With 'Il Divo' (2008), Sorrentino engages with the corruption of politics head on, telling the story of disgraced statesman Giulio Andreotti, played with vampiric glee by Servillo. (The actor is set to play Silvio Berlusconi in Sorrentino's 2018 return to the Italian political scene with 'Loro'.) 'This Must Be the Place' (2011) is the first of Sorrentino's two English language features – the other is the enjoyable but minor 'Youth' (2015). Starring Sean Penn as a Robert Smith-style rock star who is sets out to uncover his father's past, it was critically panned at the time of its release, but profits from an outsider's view of America and is at worst a curio. Sorrentino's most critically and commercially successful work on the large and small screen is 'The Great Beauty' (2013) and 'The Young Pope' (2016). The former is a rapturous paean to Rome and the director's most open homage to Fellini. 'The Young Pope', featuring a career best performance by Jude Law, is a fascinating account of life in the Vatican.