man in a white suit looking out at a sinking yacht

The Great Beauty
(La grande bellezza)

Screening on Film
$15 Special Event Tickets
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
With Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli.
Italy/France, 2013, 35mm, color, 141 min.
Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese with English subtitles.
Print source: Janus Films

La grande bellezza offers a dizzying and baroque vision of Rome seen from the distorted point of view of a clever society journalist and aging playboy whose postured world-weariness and aloofness is at last beginning to strain. Toni Servillo’s arched and brilliantly mannered performance as the rather ludicrously named Jep Gambardella hints at his vulnerable artifice and awareness of the strangely isolated and, ultimately, provincial nature of the haute culture elite circles he partially inhabits. While Fellini’s La Dolce Vita is an instantly recognized touchstone for Sorrentino’s internationally best-known film, La grande bellezza embraces more of a literary style, guided by Gambardella’s wry voiceover commentary and by the film’s scintillating, often venomous, dialogue. In its bravura opening minutes, Sorrentino’s maximalist style is fully revealed as the film leaps suddenly from a female chorus singing atop the sundrenched and stately Fontanone fountain to Gambardella’s debauched rooftop sixty-fifth birthday celebration, an orgiastic late-night dance party animated by propulsive music and fast-paced montage.

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