Sin or Il peccato is an Italian-Russian film about the last years of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Unlike other biographic movies, this one revolves around what Michelangelo felt during the process of creation, the public reception, and the struggles he encountered.
You might say it talks more about Michelangelo the person, the artist, the soul than Michelangelo the persona you see on Wikipedia and art albums. It really tries to show us what he might have felt in relation with the Medici and the Della Rovere families, his family and the Pope.
I did not plan to watch this movie, but a good friend of mine convinced me to watch it. And it was for the best! I remained completely fascinated by it, and I felt sorry for some characters.
The director of Sin is Andrei Koncealovski, but he does not have any well-known films. Sin is not a popular film, and neither are the others, but maybe Siberiada sounds familiar.
What is so good about it?
#1st thing: what it covers
I usually do not watch movies that are about persons because you usually get the surface information or some not-so-accurate information. However, I like Michelangelo’s way of creating sculptures and paintings, and the movie seemed to talk about something that I do not usually find, so I gave it a shot.
And so it was! I felt as if I got to know Michelangelo as a human being. As someone who knows that is a genius, who enjoys what he is doing, but he also craves to be recognized, to reach his potential, to communicate with people, to be happy.
He suffers a lot in Sin, and some of the people around him too. It feels humane, real and sad. It is not just about a person who did that or that, but about someone who felt that or that, who thought about it, made mistakes, had dreams, and so on.
I find this beautiful.
#2nd thing: the acting
The lead actor was good and convincing. He acted as if he truly felt what Michelangelo experienced. He delivered the monologues in an intimate way whereas the casual talk had a bit of disgust, anger or sometimes cheerfulness. He stuck to the role, not trying to improvise.
The other actors were nice too, but they did not have such major roles. Thus, I cannot say that they were fascinating. But you can feel when they are the most miserable people in the world, and then happiest people in the world.
What is not so good about it?
The rest of it feels flat. The cinematography was okay, just what you usually expect even though some shots were impressive. The image is really crisp and clear, a bit unusual. The story is okay, it is a simple life with some dangerous twists for Michelangelo.
I am a bit in between with how accurate the story is. From what me and my friend know, the story is pretty much historically correct, having just some names or facts changed (but from what we found these facts are ambiguous too).
But then the core point is what Michelangelo might have felt, not who he was according to history.
Should I watch it?
If you are interested in Michelangelo, you might give it a try. You might find things that you do not usually read, or it might show you an unknown part of Michelangelo. You might also feel lucky that you can pursue your dreams without many people controlling your life, or put art into another perspective.
It’s a 2hours movie, and the pacing is okay. It is mostly silent, so is relaxing and not extremely demanding.
If are looking for other Italian films, then you should check La Strada.
Should you want a Russian one, then you should check Come and See.