The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellaza, Sorrentino, 2013)


The Great Beauty’s concerted effort to present dual stylistic features complements its narrative appraisal of splashes of beauty within frivolity. While I found myself more appreciative of the moments of contemplation and spiritual grace than portrayals of the eccentricities of the ‘high life’, I understand the complex relationship that Sorrentino offers, of which his stylistic nuances attest to. The undercurrent of private contemplation and intellectual quietude gives respite from the “high life”, lending poignancy to the nothingness of untruths, the collective denial of despair, and the acceptance of denial as a form of solace.

Much of the film is a recreation of Fellini-esque motifs placed under a contemporary setting wherein nostalgia for days of great beauty or sophistication have become forgotten. While I appreciate the means by which Sorrentino renders the film’s rhythm and pace through brisk crane movements, there is a certain sensationalism to this practice that at times lessens the impact of certain visually dazzling moments. Of all cinematic elements, what is most admirable here are the film’s editing transitions; Sorrentino has a way of retaining energy and maintaining pace even at times of change. Perhaps the most enthralling feature of the film is the use of Zbigniew Preisners Requiem for my Friend during the funeral scene (and one scene thereafter). Dies Irae from Preisner’s requiem for Kieslowski is probably the best use of orchestral music in film since Lacrimosa in Tree of Life. But maybe I’m just biased!

84/100 – Great

4 Stars


About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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1 Response to The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellaza, Sorrentino, 2013)

  1. Pingback: Kamran’s Top Twenty of 2013 | Aesthetics Of The Mind

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