Director: Paolo Sorrentino
With: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli
A tribute to Rome and the lively Italian spirit, La Grande Bellezza is a masterful show of modern extravaganza with a touch of melancholic nostalgia for the fading beauty of youth.
Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) is celebrating his 65th birthday with one of the numerous parties he throws at his glorious apartment with view of the roman coliseum. It seems all set – great career in journalism, living in a real-estate heaven and being limitless in his opportunities in a city with vast history and blurred present and future. Jep’s life starts passing in front of his eyes like a vintage tape, that, although it seems so distant and outdated, it’s still hurtful and deep-rooted. As he struggles to rediscover the great beauty within his life, Jep takes us on tour through the vanity of human existence and the superficiality of the modern social jungle.
In the starting scene, admiration of Rome through Sorrentino’s moving camera, we see landscapes of the eternal city full of light and monumental eeriness. Images of the greatest Roman spots are surrounded with classical music that echoes through the aging soul of the city. And then a scream; the scream of suppressed confidence and surreal modernity that transfers us to Jep’s frantic fiesta. Is love now only a motive in classic literature vanished in a world of overexposed sexuality, loneliness and despair?
The vivid allegories along with the puzzling imagination of Jep’s character are all interpretations of a world where the limit is the worst ever existed so far – our own personal boundaries. In a Brave New World Jep seeks a window to open and unleash his melancholic memoirs of a renowned past.
Sorrentino creatively uses religion and art to establish a collision with the blindness of the urban craziness that breaks fixed milestones of communal living such as family, relationships and social recognition. The understanding and compassion pass through the film like comets which light lasts only for moments and then darkness dominates again.
A manifesto for the disabilities of the new age, Sorrentino directs the most eye-watering and mouth-sealing film in years.