Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Great Beauty": "Felliniesque" in the Modern Era Means Naked Selfies, but Still Little People 

Wednesday, Nov 27 2013
Comments

If calling a movie "Fellini-esque" is a cliché, then applying that term to an Italian movie about an older, creatively blocked artist wandering through a decadent, occasionally grotesque yet always beautiful modern Rome borders on lazy. And still, if the Bruno Magli Maioco fits: Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty is molto felliniano. But it's a damn good Fellini. The aging artist is Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a writer who has managed to coast on the success of a single novel he wrote 40 years earlier, so much so that even with his current journalism gig he has an impossibly perfect apartment in Rome overlooking both the Coliseum and a verdant nunnery. Jep now finds himself taking stock of just what it all means, while floating through a Rome of parties, casual nude performance art, gorgeous lighting, and fluid camera work, and in which in people post naked selfies to Facebook, because even in Italy it's 2013. Another updating from Fellini's world is that the practically obligatory dwarf (Giovanna Vignola) is an actual character — she's Jep's editor, no less. Something that hasn't changed are the images of permissiveness and open sexuality that once made foreign films, Italian in particular, seem so exotic. The taboos may be fewer, but The Great Beauty still goes places most American films don't.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.
  • Paul McCartney @ Candlestick Park
    Thursday, August 15th marks the last concert at Candlestick Park. Who better to close out the venue than Sir Paul McCartney. Photographs by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed