The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)
Cert: TBC Year: 2013 Length: 142 mins Language: Italian
Cinema Handout (PDF 99KB)
Score: 66.1% Attendance: 138
‘A gorgeous movie, the film equivalent of a magnificent banquet composed of 78 sweet courses. It is in the classic high Italian style of Fellini's ‘La Dolce Vita’ and Antonioni's ‘La Notte’’ - so says Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. Could ‘The Great Beauty’, which won Director Paolo Sorrentino a nomination for Palme D’Or at Cannes, win ‘film of the season’ at Keswick?
The supposed main player in this film is ageing playboy Jep Gambardella, but the real star is the city of Rome. As ‘La Dolce Vita’ brought us the highs of High Roman Society in the 60s, so this film brings us the beauty (?) of the Berlusconi years; don't forget they are both comedies! The ‘sweet life’ has become ‘the shallow life’.
We join Jep at his totally over the top 65th birthday party (‘among the finest choreographed bacchanalia sequences I’ve laid eyes upon’ - Jordan Hoffman, Film.com). When he awakens the next day, he begins to think back over his life, where his early promise has broken down into triviality and decadence. Sorrentino then allows (his long time collaborator) Luca Bigazzi’s beautiful cinematography to follow Jep around the streets of Rome, his dream-like zooms picking out the memories. What should Jep do with the rest of his life?
Sorrentino has been making films for a relatively short time (his first was 2001) but this is the fifth to be nominated for Palme D’Or at Cannes (’The Consequences of Love’, ’The Family Friend’, ’Il Divo’ and ’This Must be Place’ came before this one) and the critical acclaim puts this at or near the top; ‘A shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar’ - so says Robbie Collin in the Telegraph. So will history compare it with ‘La Dolce Vita’? Only time will tell, but you can see what you think tonight.
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