The Great Beauty

Oscar-winning "La Grande Ballezza" (Best Foreign Film, 2014) is directed by Paolo Sorrentino (who also wrote the story and screenplay). We see the hedonism and lack of direction displayed by the privileged classes in Rome, complete with gyrating dancers, gorgeous homes, snide gossip and lavish lifestyles. Our charming hero is a one-trick pony who wrote a best seller decades ago and has been coasting on that glory ever since.

As this Fellini-esque film unfolded, I felt it was a bit too Artistic for my taste, but then, after leaving the theater, it generated a lively discussion; so it did exactly what Art is supposed to do. Now I have ordered "La Dolce Vita" from the library; I am number 64 in line, so I'll have to wait a bit before I can draw an informed comparison. (My thanks to the JayFlix.net participant who made this recommendation. You know who you are...)

You'll want to see:
  • Tony Servillo ("Il Divo") the appealing 60ish lead actor who plays the disenchanted bon vivant who wryly observes all the absurdity.
  • The peek into our hero's past which may explain his detachment.
  • The skewering of affectations; at one point he rips into a woman who has been bragging about her credentials: as a woman, as a mother and as a Communist. 
  • The hilarious Botox clinic ("take a number").
  • The sight of the Colosseum, in all its bedraggled glory.
  • The ironic views of Performance Art: e.g., a nude woman with a veil over her head runs smack dab into a rock wall. She's disappointed that she wasn't able to transcend it. Audiences are consistently bewildered but polite.
  • Many views of the ancient viaduct, designed by Roman engineers and built by slaves, to deliver fresh water to the city. Even in decay, it's impressive.
  • The exposure of the religious charlatans who surround today's "saints."
  • The Catholic priest who was far more interested in cooking and recipes than in religion.
  • A glimpse of some of the tourist spots: museums, art galleries and impressive cityscapes.
The film is not rated, just remember it's Italian, so expect nudity (both male and female), but no sweaty bodies, car chases, gunshots or blowie uppie stuff. The photography is lovely, especially the exteriors with those historic locations.

I'm still not sure if I actually liked it, but I DID find it interesting.
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This is a good example:
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