The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty ★★★★★

This is like a sequel to La Dolce Vita. How would Marcello Rubini in La Dolce vita be as an old man? Would he maybe be something like this? Here is an old charmer, clever and good with words (just look at the interview with the artist who does not know what she means) who realises that his life is empty and he starts looking for a meaning, something to fill it up. He had an encounter with beauty once and has been waiting for that same moment his whole life. Not really working for it, just waiting for it. It's almost like watching a coming of age film with an old man instead of a teenager.

SPOILERS. In the end (as I see it) he comes to the conclusion that it is all a magic trick, religion and any other life theory, and maybe that is just OK. We all need a trick or two in our life. I thought that was a rather interesting journey and a conclusion. And maybe this understanding will help him to see that beauty is not something, that exist on its own, it's not something you wait for, it's something you create and find.

I also think it is rather refreshing that a film deals with growing old in this way. Old today is not the same as old 20 years ago. This film captures that perfectly. The desire to be for ever young. The refusal to admit and face your age.

Finally I wonder if the film is a comment on the Italian film industry, where not much has happened since Fellini left the stage, at least nothing as revolutionary as he was. Is Jep Gambardella maybe the Italian film industry, living on old glory but not creating anything fresh and new (great old art behind locked doors while people watch a naked woman run at a wall).

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Thorkell August liked this review