The Great Beauty (2013), Dir. Paolo Sorrentino

The Great Beauty (2013), Dir. Paolo Sorrentino
We’re all on the brink of despair, all we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little... Don’t you agree?
— Jep Gambardella, The Great Beauty (2013)

Stars: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso, Iaia Forte, Pamela Villoresi, Galatea Ranzi, Franco Graziosi, Fanny Ardant, Vernon Dobtcheff.
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Screenplay: Paolo Sorrentino & Umberto Contarello.

The marriage of arthouse cinema with a plot-line; a staggering achievement in cinematic history. The screen bleeds with energy, colour, beauty; the visual platter has to be credited to cinematographer, Luca Bigazzi who has created a bountiful meal for our eyeballs. There are many beautiful films out there but what makes The Great Beauty stand apart is its ability to use its visuals to enhance an already interesting movie.

Centred around Roman socialite King, Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) as he contemplates his life choices. When he first came to Rome it was his mission to not only live the life of a socialite, but to rule it which is exactly what he did. Though he knows there is something missing in his life, but does that really means his life is not full? I think that though these questions do receive answers it is only the beginning of this 65 year old's journey.

Spanning over 2 hours this film has a lot to say and show. With elements of presenting the beauty of Rome to the viewer and outsiders of the privileged while showing how modern life lives within the ruins and monuments of the ancient world. Old and new rituals vibrate with the contrast of high society living intertwined with the Catholic hierarchy and how both the people of the faith fit a little to well into the world of Gambardella. It is interesting to view the hypocrisy within the framework of high society disinterest. 

Framework; that is how I view this film. It represents the framework of how people live their lives, be it within the church, in high decadence, in a vow of poverty, in Rome itself. Rome being the beacon of so many but really the ideal of Rome is how people frame their own lives.

It is uttered by many characters the disappointment with this ancient city. For so many it is about trying to live within her while never quite achieving what they wanted when they originally migrated there. A city that devours you, takes your time, your energy, your original passion. A disillusionment takes hold as each characters lives become something of a projection of how they ought to be, losing themselves in its falsehoods. The feeling of elitism can only get you so far and the comfort that no one else around are happy either.

Contempt sits heavy but not in a negative way; these people may not have everything they want or need in live but really this is the most truth any film has uttered. No matter if you have it all humans are not meant for anything other than contempt, no one it meant to be elevated above to find eternal joy. All we are are moments, memories, interactions. 

Though there is one character, her alone is something other than everyone else, her life is as she wanted and everyday is continuous work to achieve it. 

Suburb film, with a few re-watches I will probably get a different understanding about The Great Beauty, and that is exciting.