The Great Beauty

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Jaded journo Jep Gambardella (Servillo) lives the Roman high life, swaying from one decadent party to another. But the tolling of time and the superficiality of the scene is taking its toil.


A specific evocation of time and place that nonetheless continues to shape the global perception of Italian culture, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita is a film of such reflective surfaces that it practically defies homage. But that’s what Italian super-stylist Paolo Sorrentino has more or less attempted in this richly visualised, vignette-based meditation on 21st-century excess and ecstasy in the Italian capital, as seen through the eyes of Toni Servillo’s privileged but jaded journalist. At once damning and celebratory, the film’s extreme self-indulgence is rather its point; some will thrill to its florid sensibility, others may feel the need for a Maalox.

Sumptuous and self-indulgent, Sorrentino's latest is a Fellini-like feast for the eyes.