Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 10 January 2014 01:00

'The Great Beauty' turns ugly or, at least, esoteric + Video

'The Great Beauty' turns ugly or, at least, esoteric janusfilms.com/thegreatbeauty
Written by Martha K. Baker
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Related Video

Video by YouTube.com

About this Media...

A film entitled "The Great Beauty" should be one, and this one certainly is. It is also dark, both in terms of light and insight. Its beauty is not sweeping vistas or aerial shots of quilt-like fields or close-ups on tiaras in vitrines; the film's beauty is a metaphor.
 

According to the star, Toni Servillo, "The 'great beauty' is the metaphor of a country which is constantly losing opportunities, while Rome with its beauty, bares witness to the fact that once upon a time someone took those opportunities." Servillo plays Jep Gambardella, a bon vivant who's swaggered his way through life, through Rome, through women galore. Upon his 65th birthday, however, he becomes pensive and apprehensive.

Gambardella was destined to become a writer, and, indeed, he has written a celebrated novel called The Human Apparatus, which served as the working title for this film. Part of his domestic retinue is the maid, who calls him a rascal, and she's got that right. As he wanders about his beloved city, he observes closely, the nuns running with little children in a parterre, angelic children wrap a nude woman who heads to an aqueduct in performance art before bellowing, "I don't love you" with a mouth the size of Sandra Bernhard's. He interviews the artist, known as Talia Concept, who swears that she lives by vibrations; he has little patience for her posing.

Then he talks to an old friend, a recent widower, who has a secret to reveal, a secret that shifts Jep's inspection to introspection. He continues to drink, to talk about literature and art with his homies, to have sex (she apologizes for its mediocrity) and for letting aphorisms tumble from his smoky mouth, like "It's so sad being good. You risk becoming deft." And, "At my age, beauty isn't enough."

Director Paolo Sorrentino also directed "This Must Be the Place," starring Sean Penn as a transvestite struggling with the aftermath of the Holocaust. Sorrentino wrote the story of "The Great Beauty" and takes his time with the 142-minute film. The dark clubs, the nighttime swimming, the candlelight over the card game -- all these images waltz as words dance with silence throughout. Words of sentiment, as befits the story of a writer, matter behind the silence. "The Great Beauty" ends with this benediction spoken by Gambardella: "Blah Blah Blah," he intones. "I don't deal with what lies behind death. It's just a trick."

"The Great Beauty" is beautiful and evocative. It is also pretentious, arrogant, esoteric, and, in the end, unrewarding. 

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Lida Una

Sun October 5

Brian Owens

Mon September 29
Brian Owens is an American soul singer and songwriter from St. Louis. His new album Preach combines grooves, with soul touching lyrics.. Preach is a well produced album that speaks to the modern times,…

KDHX Recommends

October
Saturday
25

KDHX Reggae Soundclash

St. Louis area DJs and sound systems meet at the Stage at KDHX for a reggae soundclash. The event pits Dub Prophecy vs. Massive Hi Fi in a “friendly clash” – alternating sets of the toughest sounds and the best of...


November
Thursday
06

Discovery Series: All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in...

KDHX presents "All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in 1968" as part of the Discovery Series. Series passports can be bought online. This event looks at the music and activism of 1968, through...


November
Friday
07

Art Attack 2014

Start your chainsaws, St. Louis. On November 7, KDHX presents Art Attack 6: a chaotic art auction that supports KDHX and puts the fate of 32 local artists in your hands. Join us for a night of fine art, drinks and destruction....


Online Users

3 users and 10554 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook