Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip's birthday.
Journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city's literary and social circles, but when his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. Written by
Francesco Rosi, who is friend with Paolo Sorrentino, directed the conclave scene. Sorrentino makes a cameo in the scene and he did not want to direct himself. See more »
I spent all my summers making plans for September. Not any longer. Now I spend the summer remembering the good intentions which vanished. In part because of laziness, in part because of carelessness. What's wrong with feeling nostalgic? It's the only distraction for those who've no faith in the future. Without rain August is coming to an end, and September isn't arriving. And I'm so ordinary. But there's no need to worry. It's alright, it's okay.
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This film is a modern masterpiece of Cinema. Luca Bigazzi's cinematography is beautiful, with elegant tracking shots of Rome that draw the viewer into the loveliness of Jep's world (even if age and experience seems to have robbed him of the ability to feel and see this great beauty himself).
The enchanting score of choral works by David Lang (I Lie), Vladimir Martynov (The Beatitudes), John Tavener (The Lamb) and Arvo Part (My Heart is in the Highlands) give depth to the wonderful images of Rome. This haunting soundtrack replaces the need for dialogue and adds intensity to Servillo's melancholic performance.
Servillo's acting is superb from his moments of dry humour to the heartbreaking intensity of those feelings he cannot quite hold on to.
La Grande Bellezza gives a window into Roman life that is probably only fully understood by a fellow Roman. However all can appreciate the aesthetic pleasure of Sorrentino's Rome and the bittersweet meanderings of its characters.
This is a cinema of the highest order, imbued with elegance & style. For the viewer it is like swimming in honey. Grazie Signore Sorrentino.
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