The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty ★★★★½

Within the first 5 or so minutes, with Luca Bigazzi's camera pulling in, sweeping left, sweeping right or swaying at an extended pendulum point in the midst of beauty, the all-encompassing beauty of Rome, I thought to myself I don't give a fuck what this film is about...I just want more of this breathtaking cinematography.

And that's exactly what I got, along with a great performance from Toni Servillo as Jep, the one-off writer now consummate high society party-goer that knows the intricate ins-and-outs of bourgeois etiquette. After his blowout 65th birthday party he realizes that's all he knows, this has been his life for far too long. One night of nothingness after another reminds me of an El-P lyric perfectly suited for the occasion.

Aren't you disturbed that everything you did tonight is something else you did already
And its meaning is still nill

There's a reason Jep has never written another book mostly because he's never experienced anything after the first that would warrant a novelization. This empty existence and ability to fake the fuck out of daily high society activities gives him the capacity to call bullshit on all subsequent artists of the performance variety because Jep knows performance, he's been doing it for 40 years. He tears down others as if tearing down himself, yet he finally realizes that there was a life he forgot to lead.

All the beauty of the ancient city of Rome is juxtaposed against the vanity of the modern culture. The ancient city is presented in sweeping, grandiose camera movements while the modern culture of dancing, lust and nose bleeds is presented in straight-forward frames at an epileptic rate with vulgarity throughout. Plus, the grandeur of the old in cask in a bath of ethereal light rendering it otherworldly and transcendent.

Toni Servillo needs to be in more films (or I just need to see more).
So does Dario Cantarelli, he has such an emotive face.

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