Wednesday, 9 April 2014
The Great Beauty
La Grande Bellezza
2013 - Dir: Paolo Sorrentino - 2 hours 14 minutes
Shown in FeckenOdeon 2 on 6th April, 2014
“Rome is the Eternal City, but it is also one of the great cities of cinema, which means continuous change and flow. “The Great Beauty” plunges headlong into the current. All you can do is plunge in there with it and clamber out a couple of hours later, sopping wet, gulping the air and perhaps having lost a shoe.” - extract from the Daily Telegraph review - you have been warned!
“Rome is alive at night. If New York is the city that never sleeps, Rome is the party that never ends. (Clubs don't get going until after midnight.) Discos compete for extravagant themes and décor and provide a great evening for the young and foot loose. Thursdays through Sundays are club nights when the whole city seems to be out on the town.” - from a tourist guide to Rome.
This is the back ground against which this film is set and which provides a stark contrast with the classical beauty of the city. It is said that the film is a commentary on the world of Silvio Berlusconi - enthusiastically bunga-bunga partying (like Nero fiddled)... while his city, and the nation headed for certain destruction. It’s a theme echoed in the work of other Italian directors - Roberto Rossellini and Federico Fellini to name but two - and perhaps the “Eternal City” refers to the perpetual nature of hedonism and corruption that clings to this most lovely place.
Paolo Sorrentino isn’t a well know name in the UK but that may all be about to change. The success of this much lauded film is about to propel him onto the international mainstream scene. His next project is to be “Into the Future” and will star Michael Caine. He’s also due to make a TV series for Sky entitled “The Young Pope”.
Sorrentino was born in Naples in 1970. His first film as screenwriter, “Polvere di Napoli”, was released in 1998. He also began directing short movies before making his feature-length debut with One Man Up (L'uomo in più), for which he was awarded the Nastro D'Argento prize. A string of successes followed, including a controversial biopic of politician Mario Andreotti and an English language film “This Must be the Place” starring Sean Penn..
This film “The Great Beauty” is his most spectacular success. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2014 Academy Awards as well as the BAFTA award for Best Film Not in the English Language. It also carried off the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It has not been widely shown in the UK