Among the most significant new filmmakers to emerge on the global stage in the past decade, Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo) matches a strikingly absurdist visual language with a fondness for off-kilter, morally troubling subject matter. The challenge of tackling a first English-language drama has been the undoing of many a Euro-auteur, but Sorrentino, not unexpectedly, has done it his way with this story about a semi-reclusive pop star who finds renewed reason to connect with the world.

Sean Penn is absolutely mesmerising as Cheyenne, the Dublin-resident Robert Smith-alike rocker who’s content to live in his own little safety zone until the death of his father sends him on a whole new adventure far from home. The central theme – how we define our own humanity – couldn’t be more real, yet Sorrentino’s unique eye for composition lends everything the magic of a modern fable as the storytelling consistently challenges expectations. Special bonus: David Byrne’s spectacular performance of the title tune, which even outdoes Stop Making Sense! ( Notes by Trevor Johnston.) 

Our IFI Teen Monthly film Club screening in March for anyone aged 15-18 will be at This Must be the Place on Wednesday, March 28th, at 15.40. 

118 minutes, Italy-France-Ireland, 2011, Filmed in English, Colour, Anamorphic Dolby Digital Stereo, 35mm


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