For about as long as they’ve been making movies, there has been an attraction to stories involving imposters – be they simple look-a-likes or twins, one person steps away or is removed from his place of authority or power, and before you can think too hard or too long, he’s been replaced by someone meant to convey that all is as it should be. Everything is ok – it’s all good.
In many of these films, like Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, or Richard Dreyfuss in Moon Over Parador, or Kevin Klein in Dave, and even The Marx Brothers in Duck Soup (the famous mirror scene), the purpose is humor and often it is broad humor. But humor sometimes has a point to make.
Humor often wields the sharp end of the stick; and so we have parodies, and satires all meant as social commentary, or attempting to deliver a specific social or political message. Such a film is Long Live Freedom, or as it was called in Italy, Viva La Liberta.
Released in 2013, the film begins as we meet the head of the Italy’s Opposition Party, one Enrico Oliveri. He’s the head of the party, and once upon a time, he might have been considered as the party’s favorite son, and a candidate for the office of the Prime Minster of Italy.
But his party has fallen out of favor, and Enrico’s personal stock has fallen even further. His own party hasn’t any confidence in him. At an important conference he speaks dully, and he is heckled unmercifully by a shouting protestor. Enrico’s staff thinks this protestor was a plant by the unnamed ‘they’.
But the reality is that Enrico lacks passion, and fires no longer burn in his belly. He might not be a hack, but he is a burn-out. But this particular burn-out can read the handwriting on the wall, as well as take note of the howling of the newspaper columns, and hear the growing noise made by the talking heads on TV.
So not wanting to, and unable to take it any more – he vanishes into the wind. Not even his personal advisor, or press secretary, Andrea Bottini (played by Valerio Mastandrea – above), is told. The reality is that Enrico is driven to Paris and he is going to stay in hiding at the home of a former lover, Danielle, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.