La grande bellezza
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli
Duration: 141 mins
Country of Origin: Italy
“Something profound. A spectacular film, as messy, strange and funny as a dream. Surreal and brilliant, it’s an absolute must-see.”
Rebecca Barry Hill, FLICKS.CO.NZ
“A masterly visually ravishing valentine to Rome. A rapturous, sumptuous, decadent and ultimately desperately sad fantasia. It’s a cineaste’s delight this, the kind of sensual experience you need to strap yourself into your seat for.”
Peter Calder, THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
“An exceptional and admirable film. One of the truly great films about a late-in-life existential crisis. And as a love letter to a city, and an epoch, I’ve never seen better. This is a sinuous, sensuous, occasionally impenetrable, utterly solipsistic, and expertly made film which knows what it wants to say, and does not shirk from the philosophical heavy-lifting required to say it. It is also ravishingly beautiful to look at, and at times extraordinarily funny and gleefully satirical. It is a film I will re-watch, and then watch again.”
Graeme Tuckett, STUFF.CO.NZ
“A shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar.”
Robbie Collin, THE TELEGRAPH (UK)
“Exhilarating. Delirious. An Aperol spritz of Roman fantasia.”
Jonathan Romney, THE INDEPENDENT
“The film equivalent of a magnificent banquet composed of 78 sweet courses. This movie looks and feels superb, it is pure couture cinema. A brilliantly executed, glitteringly hypnotic film.”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
WINNER – 2014 GOLDEN GLOBES – BEST FOREIGN FILM
WINNER – 2014 BAFTAS – BEST FOREIGN FILM
WINNER – EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS – BEST FILM, DIRECTOR, ACTOR, EDITING
One of the most spectacular and talked-about films of the Cannes Film Festival, and Italy’s official submission for the 2014 Academy Awards, THE GREAT BEAUTY is Paolo Sorrentino’s powerful and evocative tale of hedonism and lost love, and an extraordinary depiction of contemporary Rome – where life is a performance, and the city its stage.
65-year-old Jep Gambardella (the phenomenal Toni Servillo) is a jaded journalist and wealthy bon vivant whose early promise as a novelist has never been fulfilled, though his infamy remains. He lives in a luxurious apartment overlooking the Colosseum and is a regular of Rome’s party circuit for the elite, a never-ending nocturnal parade of decadence that rages through antique palaces, immense villas and opulent terraces around the Eternal City.
The blinding metropolis Jep strolls through by day seems to reflect the futility of his actions and those of his friends, but his worldview begins to shift after a man arrives on his doorstep and informs him of the death of his first love. Both troubled and moved by the revelation, Jep is flooded with memories of the past and ponders the promise of what may remain….
Arguably one of the most striking evocations of a city ever filmed, THE GREAT BEAUTY is a vibrant and breathtaking cinematic feast for the senses that captures Rome in a style reminiscent (and in celebration) of the great Fellini – in all of its splendour and superficiality, magnificence and malevolence, artifice and significance.
Film Comment interviews Paolo Sorrentino about the sentimental journeys of his characters -people constantly aware of the weight of their past, not haunted by it but nagged with incessant thoughts of what-could-have-been, and challenged, if amused, by the hubbub of spectacle around them.
Paolo Sorrentino discusses with moderator Alex Ago sources of inspiration, the dangers of beauty, and using Fanny Ardant as an extra. Recorded at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Los Angeles, on 24 Nov, 2013. (video)
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