by Allan Fish
(Italy 2013 142m) DVD1/2
Aka. La grande bellezza
All the rest is just disappointment and fatigue
p Francesca Cima, Nicola Giuliano d Paolo Sorrentino w Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello ph Luca Bigazzi ed Cristiano Travaglioli m Lele Marchitelli art Stefania Cella
Toni Servillo (Jep Gambardella), Carlo Verdone (Romano), Sabrina Ferilli (Ramona), Carlo Buccirosso (Lello Cava), Iaia Forte (Trumeau), Galatea Ranzi (Stefania), Pamela Villoresi (Viola), Franco Graziosi (Conte Colonna), Giorgio Pasotti (Stefano), Aldo Ralli (Cardinal), Giovanna Vignola (Dadina), Roberto Herlitzka (Cardinal Bellucci), Isabella Ferrari (Orietta), Giusi Merli (Sister Maria),
Though set in the present day of Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy, The Great Beauty is a film that takes you back. And it’s appropriate that it does so, because it doffs its hat to the art-house intellectual cinema of the 1960s that, with very few exceptions, now seems a lifetime away.
The lifetime in question here is Jep, a native Roman who is celebrating his 65th birthday in the way he celebrates everything in his life, with a loud party. Since he published his first and only novel 40 years previously, partying and living a life of professional leisure has been his life. All changes when he hears the news that his first love, who rejected him for reasons that remain unclear, has died. While flashing back to a beach encounter at dusk when he was 18 and she 20, he wanders about Rome looking in equal measure for a purpose to go on, distractions, divertissements, and the looking up of an occasional old friend. His journey will take in nightclub owners, a cardinal who cannot stop talking about how to cook meat, a fortysomething stripper, his female dwarf editor, and even his neighbour who, it transpires, is one of the world’s ten most wanted. (more…)