Sunday, March 09, 2014

Movie: The Great Beauty "La grande bellezza" (original title)

The Great Beauty (2013) - IMDb

Won an academy award as best foreign language but is it that worthy?  We saw it on vacation in Narooma as our friends had heard it was a great travel film on Roma and we've all enjoyed visits to Roma.

Well did it have great shots of Roma - but only some. Such as the opening is good a classical choir and an old building and an Asian tourist with DSLR taking shots of the City from the Hill. With a smile on his face he drops dead - "see Rome and die" yes it must have been what was meant. The the long Closing credits with a slow boat down the Tiber. That was good. The hero Jep has an penthouse overlooking the Coliseum but no new insights except he is rich. A mysterious character has a briefcase full of keys to palaces staked with antique works of art. Some excellent pans of statues etc....

We see a lot of strange goings on. It is a 21st century version of 1960 "La Dolce Vita ". decadent high society life. Often there are sex scenes. A performance event out of town at the aqueducts. A naked girl runs head on into an aqueduct. Blood appears. Jep who works for a magazine interviews with sarcasm the organiser. Several parties at which they dance in lines to loud rhythmical drum music - called Ethiopian Jazz. Jep says how well they perform "the Train". These loud scenes go on and on - much too long.

Jep now knows his first love has died and wonders about life. A crazy cardinal who recites food recipes and won't talk to Jep of spiritual matters (symbolic of a sidetracked Church).  A 100 year old nun/saint appears...who then struggles on her knees up the stairs at which Martin Luther realised that self imposed suffering was not the way to heaven. Yes it has interesting stuff and like a lot of such films people will use it to discuss life etc...

But its long and I just wish someone had learned about film editing and continuity of script.  You will hear discussion of what happened to Ramona - because it is just not clear. Jep pontificates on how to perform at funerals and you have to work out who died. So was the journey worth it. Reading around some walked out. Our friends thought it was awful - well more did not live up to the promise of lovely Roma. Other reviews rave about the film.  Jep is a sad sarcastic character but played very well by and he has a lot of laughs amongst his disillusionment .....

See it or not well as its Roman -  Caveat Emptor

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