A true beauty - The Great Beauty!

in CineTV4 months ago

What does it mean to be a cinephile? I know I'm a cinephile but I don't know if I know exactly what cinephile means, maybe it doesn't mean what I think.

I searched the dictionary...

  • passionate about cinema.
  • a person who loves movies, who frequents a lot of cinema shows.

Yes, it is confirmed. I am a cinephile or rather, I was a cinephile. Because I no longer fit the whole definition. That is, in the last thirty years I have not frequented movie shows much. Twenty years before the last thirty, I really attended a lot of movies. But then I didn't understand cinema as well as I understand it now!

The bottom line is I'm not a complete cinephile, I'm only an amateur cinephile.

I think there are many kinds of moviegoers that fit in the brief dictionary definition. Some are smarter, more cultured, and easily recognize a good movie. Others, like me, find it harder to understand and have no specialized education. Instead, they have a great love of cinema and have watched thousands of movies. Watching so many movies, heterogeneous in quality, makes the brain able to recognize a quality movie, even if it does not know how to explain the choice.

The brain is a computer. The brain knows which actors we like, it knows when they play very well. The brain knows which director is our favorite, knows what images we like, what music we enjoy, and combining all this every time we see a movie gives us a conclusion, tells us which movie is good and which is not, of course, according to our criteria. Because of this, it is difficult for a film to be appreciated to the same extent and for the same reasons by two different people, even if both are cinephiles.

All these thoughts came to me after watching one of my favorite movies.

All these thoughts came to me after I reviewed one of my favorite movies.

La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

An Italian film. Screenplay and direction by Paolo Sorrentino. The contemporary director I like the most. I only saw two movies he made, "La Grande Belleza" and "Youth" plus the HBO series, "The Young Pope."


When I first saw La Grande Bellezza I said that it is not true, that such a thing does not exist. Because this is a movie that meets all my beauty criteria. It is a film made in 2013 but it has nothing to do with current cinema. It is a film made in the style of the great classics of Italian cinema, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. I mean, a kind of movie that I thought no one could make.

Before I talk about this movie, I want to say something about how I perceive and appreciate a movie. For me, the story doesn't matter in the first place. Any small part of the cinematographic art, such as a special image, special music, a special score of an actor, a unique approach of the director makes me appreciate that film. That's why you may not like what I appreciate and recommend.

In short, the movie is sublime! From the first images and sounds, it overwhelms you. The movement of the camera, the traveling, and the close-ups are perfect. One of the main characters of the film is the city of Rome. The way it is filmed proves the director's love, knowledge, and admiration for the city. Probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

What did I understand from the movie? As the main theme, not directly said but very well suggested is death. More precisely, the approach of death. A story told in a beautiful and decadent city but in decline. Like the main character in the film, Jep Gambardella, played very well and credibly by Toni Servillo, who I understand is Sorentino's favorite actor.


Jep is a mundane character, a writer who wrote only one book in his youth and lived all his life feeding on this achievement. He is a character inspired by the character played by Marcelo Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita, Fellini's film that seems to have inspired Sorrentino.

The first important scene of the film presents the crazy party on the occasion of his 65th birthday. A moment for a re-evaluation of the life until then and the finding that he led a meaningless existence, surrounded by his superficial friends.

He has a reply that I really liked and I would have liked even more to be able to do what he set out to do ... he said: "When I turned 65 I discovered that from now on I don't I want to do things I don't want to do anymore "

Everything is filmed exceptionally. A joy for the eyes! Rome, the eternal city, a city of strange beauty, with buildings and monuments left from antiquity. Palaces and fountains, statues, and gardens. They are all characters and they are what I really like in this movie. Perfectly underlined and shown by the scenography and image, by the movement of the camera.

A long film, over two and a half hours, consisting of many small smaller pieces of film that seem to be separate but closely linked. Director Sorrentino.


A film about nostalgia. Nostalgia for youth! So beautifully shown by the transition from reality to memories. When Jep's memories were shown, he was always lying in bed and the image of the sea appeared on the ceiling. Wonderful.

One can talk about the film in thousands of words but the words don't convey almost anything of the plastic beauty of the film, the strange music, and the movement of the camera through the city. This cannot be told, it must be seen! Some of the music of the movie:

Because I managed to say almost nothing about the film.

Source of all photos

I hope that the few references to the film and the chosen images will arouse your interest to watch it.

In the end, the final music of the film.



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Thank you!

Great review!
This is the kind of writings I long for on hive, on cinetv or anywhere on the internet! Writings that can move you, make you excited in anticipation for the topics discussed!
Thank you for this. :)

I don't consider myself a cinephile, but that should be obvious from my username. While I do not have a film degree, I do consider myself a student of cinema.

The Great Beauty is a remarkable work and for all the influences it borrows from La Dolce Vita, only makes it all the more nostalgic for me. Of course I wasn't alive then, but spending time in Fellini, Visconti, Rossellini, Antonioni films imbued that sense in me permanently—that I was there in 60s, living that era, that life!

By the way,

For me, the story doesn't matter in the first place.

I whole heartedly agree with this!

Thanks a lot! You are a cinephile, it is more than obvious. You also have an advantage given your age ... you've seen the classic movies you're talking about more recently. Which is rare, I mean watching old movies, for many outdated and uninteresting. In your list of Italian directors are also my favorites, the first being Antonioni. It's just that I saw their movies in the 1970s at the movie theater. I forgot a lot of what I saw. My best years were between 70 and 85, then I was a cinephile. Then less and less but I'm glad I can recognize a good movie.

I do envy you for the experience you had in that era! I often feel like I was born too late. Cinema is nearly dead now. All I have are the ones made decades ago. I have still many many films I have not seen yet of course. This is why I go back to them time and time again.

I think you still are a cinephile and the eyes to notice a good one never diminishes. It is like knowing how to swim or paddle a cycle. I also believe, this learned insight in one art form enables us to perceive beauty in others as well.

Yes, I think you're right! The eye formed in discovering beauty, discovers it everywhere.
I lived for up to 45 years in a communist country, in Romania, with a repressive regime and a restriction of access to other countries, especially western ones. I could hardly watch those important movies and because of that when I did, the joy was even more intense.

Wow! Very complicated and high brow stuff for me! But I do love going to the opera to listen to those strange voices in the past! LoL

Yes, it is a difficult film to watch and very European. The music is exceptional and of course, can be listened to at the opera.

Yup! It’s the work of master artists who are too smart for ordinary people to understand! Love to see this in big cinematic screen, with nice surround acoustic!

You're right, it matters a lot if it is seen in special viewing conditions.

Wish I could speak Italian ...:-)

Yes, it's a very musical language!

I think I would like this! It has all the things I love about a good film. A story, but, not just a story, it is complex with many elements, winding their way into your brain.

The music, the energy, and the way your personality shines on these things. Loved your review. Thank you, Dan!

Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it and that you think it's a good movie. It is a very European film and you know Europe very well.

I am going to see if I can find it on YouTube! Thanks again, Dan!

I didn't find it. I'm sorry!

I didn't either. Thanks for trying@

You know... with pleasure!


Omg I still remember the first time I saw this movie, I just loved it! What really got me since the beggining was the movement of the camera, I love the overall aesthetic and I think Jep is an amazing character and the screenplay is awesome too! One of my favs indeed!

Nice review! :D

Thank you! The camera seems to float. Amazing!
I'm glad to meet a fan of this movie.