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There is considerable rhetoric propagated today about 5G security. Some of the more blatant assertions border on xenophobia with vague assertions that the 5G vendors from some countries cannot be trusted and wholesale government banning is required. Existing treaty obligations are being summarily abrogated in favour of bilateral trade bullying. These are practices that the late President George H.W. Bush sought to eliminate a quarter century ago through intergovernmental organization initiatives that relied on industry collaboration. Bush 41's efforts were enormously successful and opened up a new world of global communication services, products, and economic growth — that are now being systematically undermined. As the world transitions to 5G global communications, the adverse effects of unilateral national isolationism will be profound.

Fortunately, open global industry collaboration is more active today than at any point in history — especially now for 5G security. It is that collaboration that also provides significant 5G security transparency today. That transparency is more essential than ever.

Metrics of 5G Security Collaboration

To provide some degree of transparency on the subject of 5G security and who is actually devoting resources to taking action, we are somewhat fortunate that there is one principal global industry venue that is intensively devoted to the subject — the 3GPP organization's group SA3. Its remit is exclusively security, and there are 17 current Release 16 work items that are devoted to every aspect of 5G product and service security, including supply chain management.

As opposed to other standards bodies, 3GPP's are essentially mandatory, and some are overseen by the industry's global provider and vendor organization, the London-based GSMA. As a result of this stature, the work is extensive, dynamic, and globally inclusive.

During 2018, the SA3 held seven meetings lasting five days, roughly 60 days apart, in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Arguably, the metrics of participation in these 2018 meetings are transparent indicators of the companies, agencies, and organizations interested and substantively involved in bringing about 5G security and willing to devote resources. In addition, because this open industry activity involves the participants making their Intellectual Property available for collective public use, the input metrics are indicative of the willingness of parties to share their 5G security IPR.

During 2018, 74 different companies (including their subsidiaries) plus a few agencies, sent technical experts to the seven SA3 meetings, expending 2,676 staff days and submitting 3,582 documents devoted specifically to 5G security specifications and liaison communications. The metrics for the top twenty participating entities are shown below and can be openly obtained from the SA3 portal site. These numbers are significant because they demonstrate who is willing to expend monies to have an employee present the most important industry 5G security meetings rotating across three continents, including three in the U.S.

Staff daysEntity305Huawei170Ericsson170Qualcomm140China Mobile125Nokia110NEC85Motorola75CATT75InterDigital75NCSC70BT plc65Orange65Samsung55Apple50Deutsche Telekom50ZTE Corp45Datang45Intel45Sony45Vodafone

Among government agencies, UK's NCSC is found in the top 20. The three USGOV agencies — DHS, NIST, and FCC - together expended 60 staff days.

Another measure of substantive engagement — input document contributions to the 5G security standards and studies in 2018 are shown below. The numbers reflect the entity individually or collectively contributing a specification or study proposal or text. These numbers are significant because they indicate the degree of substantive engagement in 5G security provisions.

ContributionsEntity679Huawei626HiSilicon580Ericsson510Nokia Shanghai Bell204Qualcomm180China Mobile170NEC152ZTE Corp127CATT108Motorola95KPN 90Deutsche Telekom89Vodafone86Samsung69InterDigital66NCSC54China Unicom53LG Electronics42Lenovo37Intel

Here also, many of the same parties are found in the top 20 because contributions require the attention of participant staff. Among USGOV agencies, NIST provided 9 submissions, and the FFRDC, MITRE, submitted 9.

5G Supply Chain Management

Among the many SA3 5G security standards, the one most related to contemporary security supply chain threat rhetoric is the Security Assurance Specification for 5G (SCAS_5G). The 3GPP activity is an extension of an initiative begun in SA3 nearly five years ago based on material from the Common Criteria Control Board to develop a global industry-driven mobile Network Equipment Security Assurance Scheme (NESAS) for equipment supply chain management using a Security Assurance Methodology (SECAM). The managing and accrediting body is the GSMA.

Here also, the contribution metrics show the stark reality both over the past five years as well as today - the U.S. government chooses to completely ignore the principal global activity for supply chain management.

Fourteen parties participated in 2018 in submitting 92 input contributions for developing the 5G Security Assurance specification.

3British Telecom5CATT3China Mobile3China Unicom11Deutsche Telekom3Ericsson17Hisilicon21Huawei1Intel3KPN39NEC Corporation38Nokia14Samsung10ZTE Corp

The FCC Supply Chain Proceeding and Advisory Committee

Global industry standards activities are not the only forum for treating 5G security. The FCC also instituted a rulemaking making proceeding in March 2018 to consider Commission rules related to supply chain management — especially 5G equipment. See WC Docket No. 18-89. Most of the 84 comments filed in the docket to date have expressed a preference for collaborative industry solutions rather than political-driven edicts.

Additionally, the Commission's own industry advisory group, CSRIC, in its Final Report of the Network Reliability and Security Risk Reduction Working group in March 2018, "recommend[ed] that the industry continue to participate in industry and standards forums and adopt the GSMA recommended controls to address emerging security risks as part of their overall 5G and IoT security approach."

New Threats to Global Industry 5G Security Collaboration

Decades ago, the United States was a leader in global ICT industry collaboration which including collectively developing the security specifications expanding the markets for worldwide growth and trade in equipment and services. That dynamic is alive and well today in 3GPP SA3 and many other venues, even if the participants have changed, and the U.S. government agencies have disengaged. There is an enormous amount of travel and personal sacrifice endured by the individuals involved.

Eight years ago, three Google executives while traveling in Italy, were apprehended because one of their company's offerings allegedly violating a local law. Their trial and imprisonment generated industry widespread outrage. Today, the same has recently occurred to another global ICT company executive from another part of the world. Such governmental actions are serious threats to everyone engaging in global industry security collaboration.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

www.circleid.com | 12/10/18
Thousands of migrants in Italy are anxiously waiting to see if they will lose their housing and benefits following approval of a government-backed law that aims to reduce the number of migrants granted humanitarian protections.
www.foxnews.com | 12/8/18
Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s squeaky clean deputy prime minister, has long tarred opponents with the alleged misdeeds of their fathers. Now his father is under scrutiny.
www.nytimes.com | 12/6/18
Italy’s populist government is looking for a route out of a fight with the European Union over its budget, as the financial fallout from the clash pushes the economy to the brink of recession.
www.wsj.com | 12/5/18
Italy’s populist government is looking for a route out of a fight with the European Union over its budget, as the financial fallout from the clash pushes the economy to the brink of recession.
www.wsj.com | 12/5/18
A fable about Italy, bond yields and politics in the European Union.
www.nytimes.com | 11/24/18
Company loans are becoming more costly after the government’s generous spending prompted investors to demand higher risk premiums on Italian bonds, raising banks’ borrowing costs.
www.wsj.com | 11/21/18
Company loans are becoming more costly after the government’s generous spending prompted investors to demand higher risk premiums on Italian bonds, raising banks’ borrowing costs.
www.wsj.com | 11/21/18
Italy’s new government is rattling the country’s establishment, European Union and financial markets, but many Italians see the five-month-old government as a breath of fresh air.
www.wsj.com | 11/18/18
Italy’s new government is rattling the country’s establishment, European Union and financial markets, but many Italians see the five-month-old government as a breath of fresh air.
www.wsj.com | 11/17/18
The strategy of Vladimir Putin, in the difficult Libyan chessboard, has always been particularly silent. The Kremlin, after the fall of Muhammar Gaddafi, moved with caution, aware that the end of the colonel had a disastrous effect on the construction of the Russian strategy in the Mediterranean after the fall of the Soviet Union. But the West, which has made a hell out of that Libya, has not supplanted the other superpowers. After Gaddafi, another leader did not arrive, but the war exploded: civil and not. And in this quagmire, Russia has managed to transform itself into an increasingly dynamic and increasingly necessary actor. Italy knows it very well, since Giuseppe Conte [the now in Office Italian Prime Minister] went to Moscow to drag Russia to his side. by Lorenzo Vita Russia's politics in Libya
The populist Italian government says proposed fiscal measures are needed to finance costly policies it promised its voters.
www.wsj.com | 11/14/18
Lebanon needs to form a government in order to implement projects proposed by Italy, an Italian MP said Thursday, calling on everyone to make concessions to save the country, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The security of the global Default Free Zone (DFZ) has been a topic of much debate and concern for the last twenty years (or more). Two recent papers have brought this issue to the surface once again — it is worth looking at what these two papers add to the mix of what is known, and what solutions might be available. The first of these —

Demchak, Chris, and Yuval Shavitt. 2018. "China's Maxim — Leave No Access Point Unexploited: The Hidden Story of China Telecom's BGP Hijacking." Military Cyber Affairs 3 (1). https://doi.org/10.5038/2378-0789.3.1.1050.

— traces the impact of Chinese "state actor" effects on BGP routing in recent years. Whether these are actual attacks, or mistakes from human error for various reasons generally cannot be known, but the potential, at least, for serious damage to companies and institutions relying on the DFZ is hard to overestimate. This paper lays out the basic problem, and the works through a number of BGP hijacks in recent years, showing how they misdirected traffic in ways that could have facilitated attacks, whether by mistake or intentionally. For instance, quoting from the paper:

  • Starting from February 2016 and for about 6 months, routes from Canada to Korean government sites were hijacked by China Telecom and routed through China.
  • On October 2016, traffic from several locations in the USA to a large Anglo-American bank
  • headquarters in Milan, Italy was hijacked by China Telecom to China.
  • Traffic from Sweden and Norway to the Japanese network of a large American news organization was hijacked to China for about 6 weeks in April/May 2017.

What impact could such a traffic redirection have? If you can control the path of traffic while a TLS or SSL session is being set up, you can place your server in the middle as an observer. This can, in many situations, be avoided if DNSSEC is deployed to ensure the certificates used in setting up the TLS session is valid, but DNSSEC is not widely deployed, either. Another option is to simply gather encrypted traffic and either attempt to break the key or use data analytics to understand what the flow is doing (a side channel attack).

What can be done about these kinds of problems? The "simplest" — and most naïve — answer is "let's just secure BGP." There are many, many problems with this solution. Some of them are highlighted in the second paper under review —

Bonaventure, Olivier. n.d. "A Survey among Network Operators on BGP Prefix Hijacking — Computer Communication Review." Accessed November 3, 2018. https://ccronline.sigcomm.org/2018/ccr-january-2018/a-survey-among-network-operators-on-bgp-prefix-hijacking/.

— which illustrates the objections providers have to the many forms of BGP security that have been proposed to this point. The first is, of course, that it is expensive. The ROI of the systems proposed thus far are very low; the cost is high, and the benefit to the individual provider is rather low. There is both a race to perfection problem here, as well as a tragedy of the commons problem. The race to perfection problem is this: we will not design, nor push for the deployment of, any system which does not "solve the problem entirely." This has been the mantra behind BGPSEC, for instance. But not only is BGPSEC expensive — I would say to the point of being impossible to deploy — it is also not perfect.

The second problem in the ROI space is the tragedy of the commons. I cannot do much to prevent other people from misusing my routes. All I can really do is stop myself and my neighbors from misusing other people's routes. What incentive do I have to try to make the routing in my neighborhood better? The hope that everyone else will do the same. Thus, the only way to maintain the commons of the DFZ is for everyone to work together for the common good. This is difficult. Worse than herding cats.

A second point — not well understood in the security world — is this: a core point of DFZ routing is that when you hand your reachability information to someone else, you lose control over that reachability information. There have been a number of proposals to "solve" this problem, but it is a basic fact that if you cannot control the path traffic takes through your network, then you have no control over the profitability of your network. This tension can be seen in the results of the survey above. People want security, but they do not want to release the information needed to make security happen. Both realities are perfectly rational!

Part of the problem with the "more strict," and hence (considered) "more perfect" security mechanisms proposed is simply this: they are not quite enough. They expose far too much information. Even systems designed to prevent information leakage ultimately leak too much.

So… what do real solutions on the ground look like?

One option is for everyone to encrypt all traffic, all the time. This is a point of debate, however, as it also damages the ability of providers to optimize their networks. One point where the plumbing allegory for networking breaks down is this: all bits of water are the same. Not all bits on the wire are the same.

Another option is to rely less on the DFZ. We already seem to be heading in this direction, if Geoff Huston and other researchers are right. Is this a good thing, or a bad one? It is hard to tell from this angle, but a lot of people think it is a bad thing.

Perhaps we should revisit some of the proposed BGP security solutions, reshaping some of them into something that is more realistic and deployable? Perhaps — but the community is going to let go of the "but it's not perfect" line of thinking, and start developing some practical, deployable solutions that don't leak so much information.

Finally, there is a solution Leslie Daigle and I have been tilting at for a couple of years now. Finding a way to build a set of open source tools that will allow any operator or provider to quickly and cheaply build an internal system to check the routing information available in their neighborhood on the 'net, and mix local policy with that information to do some bare bones work to make their neighborhood a little cleaner. This is a lot harder than "just build some software" for various reasons; the work is often difficult — as Leslie says, it is largely a matter of herding cats, rather than inventing new things.

Written by Russ White, Network Architect at LinkedIn

www.circleid.com | 11/6/18
Growth in Italy fell to zero, raising further questions about a government spending plan that was based on rosier projections for growth.
www.nytimes.com | 10/30/18
Italy's government is playing a game of chicken with European authorities and financial markets over plans to spend big — and it's unclear whether the country can avoid a collision that would spread wreckage throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
www.foxnews.com | 10/26/18
Italy’s government vowed to forge ahead with its spending plans, despite warnings by the European Union that its proposed budget would breach the bloc’s fiscal rules, raising the prospect of a clash with Brussels.
www.wsj.com | 10/22/18
Moody’s downgrade followed the government’s decision to accept higher budget deficits, a move that prompted a sell-off in Italian 10-year bonds.
www.nytimes.com | 10/20/18
Italy’s government approved a draft budget law for next year, confirming a set of expansionary measures that could lead to a fast-rising deficit and a conflict with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/15/18
Italy’s government approved a draft budget law for next year, confirming a set of expansionary measures that could lead to a fast-rising deficit and a conflict with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/15/18
The government says it will transfer all migrants out of Riace - a town famous for welcoming them.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/13/18
The Italian government has defied eurozone rules with a lavish spending plan and squandered credibility with bond investors. The turmoil could rock the globe.
www.nytimes.com | 10/12/18
Italy’s fiscal watchdog criticized the economic forecasts of the country’s new government, in a blow to the credibility of budget policies that are unnerving investors and the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Italy’s fiscal watchdog criticized the economic forecasts of the country’s new government, in a blow to the credibility of budget policies that are unnerving investors and the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
The controversy surrounding the Italian government's spending plans has led to more nervousness on the financial markets.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/5/18
As Italy’s populist government approaches a showdown with the EU over its budget, financial-market tremors are hurting the country’s banking system and threatening the economic growth Rome wants to stimulate.
www.wsj.com | 10/5/18
Italy’s government set its budget deficit targets for 2020 and 2021 at lower levels than previously envisaged, after initial government plans had unnerved financial markets and European authorities.
www.wsj.com | 10/3/18
Italy’s antiestablishment government has significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, in a move that will likely put it on collision course with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 9/28/18
Italy’s antiestablishment government has significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, in a move that will likely put it on collision course with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 9/28/18
Italy's populist government has big budget plans - but its own finance minister is in the way.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/27/18
The measure, which now requires a parliamentary vote, makes it easier to deport migrants.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/24/18
Italy on Monday tightened criteria for migrants receiving humanitarian protection as its populist government deepened its crackdown on those seeking asylum.
www.foxnews.com | 9/24/18

The battle between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for British pay-TV company Sky PLC appears headed for a little-used aspect of how mergers and acquisitions are handled in the U.K.: An auction.

In the event that 21st Century Fox and Comcast find themselves at auction for Sky, here’s how the process plays out.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, which oversees all mergers and acquisitions, sets a deadline that, if there are still multiple suitors for a company, will trigger an auction to determine the winning bidder. The Takeover Panel does this to ensure that the company being acquired isn’t “under siege” for too long, while giving the shareholders for the potential buyers enough time to review all relevant materials from the proposal. Per the U.K.’s Takeover Code, that deadline is 46 days after the most recent offer is formally published with the U.K. Stock Exchange.

In this case, Fox and Comcast have until Saturday, 5 p.m. local time to either bow out or make their “best and final offer” for Sky. In the meantime, the three companies will negotiate the rules of the auction, which the Takeover Panel will formally announce on Friday.

Also Read: Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

Typically, the auction would last for five consecutive days, but the Panel allows for the parties to figure out the process themselves, as long as it doesn’t skirt any official rules. There have only been three British takeover situations since 2007 that have involved auctions handled by the regulator, per an analysis by Reuters.

The reason for Sky to take this to the auction stage would be to maximize the value for its shareholders, hoping the auction-style setting will force Comcast and Fox to keep one-upping each other.

Currently, Comcast holds the superior bid at $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s offer of $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast’s all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid. Comcast’s offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

Also Read: Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

However, since Fox already owns 39 percent of the company, it needs only to convince another 12 percent to vote in its favor, whereas Comcast has to convince 51 percent of the board to vote in its favor.

With this headed towards an auction, it begs the question: Why does everyone want Sky so much?

More and more, U.S. companies have been looking internationally for a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf.

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Also Read: Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger

Sky would fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its $71.3 billion sale of film and TV assets to Disney. CEO Bob Iger has previously referred to Sky as the “crown jewel” of Fox assets. Disney could use Sky’s broadband services to launch its upcoming service, which will debut at the end of 2019, in Europe.

Also, there’s a bit of corporate gamesmanship involved. Comcast made its own bid to buy the Fox assets instead of Disney, which forced Disney to increase its offer from its initial $52.4 billion that Fox accepted last year.

You can imagine that Iger would love to return the favor.

21st Century Fox declined to comment for this story, while representatives for Comcast and Sky did not return TheWrap’s request for comment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

British Government OKs Fox's Bid to Buy Sky

Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

www.thewrap.com | 9/20/18
Italy’s new populist government has until Sept. 27 to make a difficult decision: How to reconcile its expensive election promises with the reality of the country’s fragile finances.
www.wsj.com | 9/19/18
Italy’s new populist government has until Sept. 27 to make a difficult decision: How to reconcile its expensive election promises with the reality of the country’s fragile finances.
www.wsj.com | 9/19/18
Germany and Italy have agreed in principle to stop illegal immigrants from traveling between the two countries, Germany’s interior minister said on Thursday, delivering on a compromise that ended a serious internal crisis in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government earlier this year.
www.wsj.com | 9/14/18
Germany and Italy have agreed in principle to stop illegal immigrants from traveling between the two countries, Germany’s interior minister said on Thursday, delivering on a compromise that ended a serious internal crisis in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government earlier this year.
www.wsj.com | 9/14/18

“Loro” is the definitive Paolo Sorrentino film to date. It’s brash, stylish, and silly. It oscillates back and forth between horny and human, profound and misguided. It’s a glorious mess. That it exists in the #MeToo era is a miracle. That it manages to evolve beyond a dick-swinging affair is even more miraculous.

In the vein of “The Great Beauty,” “Youth,” and “The Young Pope,” the film is sprawling and idiosyncratic. This time Sorrentino centers his story on Silvio Berlusconi, the infamous medial mogul and former Prime Minister of Italy. But this is not your standard cradle-to-grave biopic.

The film toggles back and forth between Silvio and Sergio, a youthful businessman determined to impress Silvio. Sergio works primarily as a glorified pimp, trafficking escorts to bribe politicians for permits and favors. When he’s not knee-deep in a line of cocaine or anonymous women, he has ambition. The kind of ambition that’s neither pure nor noble.

Also Read: HBO Greenlights 'The New Pope,' Follow-Up to 'The Young Pope'

Sergio has no interest in making the world a better place. He’s candid about his lust for fame and fortune by any means necessary. The actor, Riccardo Scamarcio plays Sergio like Tony Curtis in “Sweet Smell of Success.” A spine couldn’t be located if you conducted a CT scan on him. He’s unscrupulous and unrelenting, which makes him (initially) spellbinding.

Sorrentino works his magic to lure us in. The cutting in “Loro” is characteristically sublime. Quick, rhythmic, economical. It’s a hypnotizing contrast to the aesthetic presentation, which is ostentatious, bordering on gaudy. What’s undeniable about a Paulo Sorrentino movie is that you cannot be bored by a Paulo Sorrentino movie. He fills the frame with sex, drugs, and EDM. The camera glides through bacchanals, making each viewer a voyeur of sorts. The colors are lush; the production design is breathtaking. Italy has rarely looked so stunning and soulless. “Loro” satirizes affluence by bathing in it. It may be impossible to leave a Sorrentino jaunt not feeling a little bit mischievous.

Also Read: How 'Youth' Composer David Lang Snuck Highbrow Music Into Oscar Race

This is in large part due to Sorrentino’s depiction of Silvio, played by Toni Servillo of “The Great Beauty.” Berlusconi’s misgivings have been well-documented in both the papers and tabloids: The corruption, affairs, drugs. There are so many reported stories about Silvio that Wikipedia had to create a separate page for him called, “Controversies Surrounding Silvio Berlusconi.” He’s become a punchline for pundits and late-night hosts.

As a result, it’s impossible to avoid carrying baggage into this film, especially when “Loro” fixates on the baggage. Everything you’ve heard and more is jammed into “Loro.” Diversion aside, Berlusconi would appear to have three primary objectives: 1) to be the wealthiest man in Italy, 2) the prime minister of his homeland, and 3) loved by everyone he rules.

Sorrentino refuses to make this man sympathetic. He’s not a villain, either. In lesser hands, the character would fall into these two unrealistically tidy categories; “Loro” works best in these tender interludes, where Silvio’s malevolence is rendered meaningful. One of the highlights arrives at the tail-end. Silvio is the main attraction of another party. His wife is out of town, perhaps permanently. At the head of the table he regales guests, mostly young women, with his jokes. They laugh politely upon the delivery of a punchline. Eventually dinner drifts to dancing. Silvio watches from afar. Young people are gyrating to club music.

Also Read: Asia Argento Fired From 'X Factor Italy' Following Sexual Assault Accusation

Collectively they do a good job of feigning excitement. And then, eventually, Silvio’s voyeuristic gaze lands on Stella (Alice Pagani). She’s not dancing. In fact, she hasn’t left the dinner table. She sits alone, isolated, clearly confounded by the gathering. Eager to please everyone, Silvio asks her to dance. She gently declines and goes to the bathroom. The interaction could end here, and there’d be plenty to mull over. But this isn’t Sorrentino’s inclination. He’s a director who presents palpable dynamics and then proceeds to unpack them.

The film cuts to Silvio watching Stella asleep in a twin-sized bed. She awakes. His objectifying observation feels at once predatory and pathetic. He doesn’t wish to hurt her, and he won’t. He just wants her to like him. On the surface this is a moment between an aging politician and a college student who could give a damn about his desires. But there’s more to it and these people. “Loro” doesn’t all build up to this scene, it simply is built-in.

The film’s central idea seems to be about the painful process of aging. Silvio’s desire, ultimately, is to stay young and desirable. Ruby spots the desperation. She doesn’t pity him. She finds him repulsive. Hell, she finds herself partially repulsive for even attending such an event. Unlike in the two hours leading up to this scene, his virility is no longer charming or entertaining.

As the movie plays itself out, Silvio embodies a Trump-ian figure, a man who’s more interested in pageantry than politics. Silvio’s self-proclaimed business acumen, salesman-like approach to human interaction, and carnal cravings feel less like comedy and more like a bleak reality. Sorrentino doesn’t merely satirize his subject, though. There’s a critique of us, the complicit viewers and voters. Silvio isn’t wholly responsible for who he is and what he has done. He has received encouragement in the form of attention, admiration and TV subscriptions.

It does not matter that, by the end of the film, he longer fascinates or intrigues us. It does not matter that the bombast has bursted and the facade has eroded. Some may find the final half-hour of “Loro” to mercilessly drag. I believe anyone who feels that way is feeling precisely what Sorrentino intended. It does drag. It is uncomfortable. You will want to stop watching Silvio frolicking around. But once you’ve fed the beast it’s not so easy to put down. It’s grown stronger and more ravenous, emboldened by those who howl its name like an incantation. Which is to say: the channel can only be changed once we change.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Will Oscar Season's Early Contenders Survive the Toronto Film Festival Onslaught?

Toronto Film Festival Market: Will Streaming Giants Spend Big Again and 5 Other Things to Watch

Toronto Film Festival Adds Conversations and Events With Mahershala Ali, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Reitman

Julianne Moore's 'Gloria Bell' Lands at A24 Ahead of Toronto Film Festival

www.thewrap.com | 9/7/18
Investors fear Italy’s government could announce a budget this fall that puts the country’s debt on an unsustainable course and amplify tensions with Brussels.
www.wsj.com | 9/3/18
Italy's Catholic bishops offered to care for a majority of 140 migrants the country's government had prevented from leaving an Italian coast guard ship docked for days in a Sicilian harbor because politics shouldn't be practiced at the expense of the poor, prominent churchmen said Sunday.
www.foxnews.com | 8/26/18
The Italian government had issued an export license for the portrait last year, but now argues that it had not realized the subject was a Borghese prince.
www.nytimes.com | 8/23/18
Italy has made headlines as a hard place for migrants recently, with racist attacks against blacks on its soil and a new government closing Italian ports to people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.
www.foxnews.com | 8/22/18
Humanitarian groups urged the Italian government Tuesday to allow 177 migrants aboard an Italian coast guard ship docked at the Sicilian port of Catania to be permitted to disembark.
www.foxnews.com | 8/21/18
Rescuers scoured crushed mountains of rubble for victims of a bridge collapse in Genoa as the toll rose to 39 today and Italy's government blamed the company in charge of motorways for the disaster.
www.dnaindia.com | 8/15/18
The United Nations and the Italian government announced plans Friday to partner on a project aimed at empowering Syrian refugee women in Lebanon to take leadership roles in their communities.
Daisy Osakue, whose eye was struck in an assault, has become the bandaged face of a question confronting Italy: Is it more racist under the anti-immigrant government?
www.nytimes.com | 8/3/18
A recent selloff in government bonds in Italy has highlighted renewed investor concern over the politics and banks of a country that routinely sparks regional jitters.
www.wsj.com | 8/3/18
A black Italian athlete was wounded in the eye when an egg was hurled at her Monday, the latest of at least nine attacks since Italy's anti-migrant government took power that are being investigated as possible acts of racism.
www.foxnews.com | 7/30/18
Italy’s new government wants to reject a painstakingly negotiated trade deal between the European Union and Canada, and that is welcome news to many small farmers in Italy’s fertile north.
www.wsj.com | 7/30/18

The politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, referred to as "Presidente del Consiglio" in Italian. Legislative power is vested in the two houses of parliament primarily, and secondarily on the Council of Ministers. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Italy has been a democratic republic since 2 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum. The constitution was promulgated on 1 January 1948. The current President of Italy is Giorgio Napolitano, while the current Prime Minister of Italy is Silvio Berlusconi. With a net worth of US$ 9.4 billion, Berlusconi is the Western world's and Europe's richest head of government.


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