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Movies // Hot Ticket
Rachel Breit

The Great Beauty

Princess S.R.I. (Sacred Roman Empire)

Where and with whom did you see the movie?

In Rome last summer with my husband and my five children (Vittorio, Yana, Azzurra, Fabrizio, Mirtilla and Allia). And again with Aida Takla of the Foreign Press Association and my daughter Azzurra last October at the Soho Club on Sunset in L.A., at a screening for the foreign press. Director Paolo Sorrentino and producer Nicola Giuliano, both from Naples, were present.

Overall, what did you think?

I really wanted The Great Beauty to be at our EuroCinema Hawaii Film Festival last October, but unfortunately it wasn’t. It is one of the best films I have seen in the last 10 years in every sense, and I do not agree at all with some critics at Cahiers du Cinema (a film magazine published in France) who said that it is a presumptuous film. If being an extraordinary, poetic film director and writer and choosing the best cinematographer and editor and music composer means being presumptuous, then yes, it is a presumptuous film. But that said, I rarely have seen a film so well composed, and I had such a fascinating experience watching it. Well worth the two-and-a-half hours.

Without giving away the ending, what was one of your favorite scenes?

There are too many scenes which are just so original and surprising that they take your breath away. Of course, the Japanese tourist who faints after experiencing the beauty of the Fountain of the Acqua Paola and the panorama of Rome is an unexpected one, right at the beginning. But since most scenes are “surprises” for the eye and the mind, I don’t want to give them away.

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film?

Without any doubts, ★★★★

What did you think of the cinematography?

The cinematography is extraordinary. The way the light was used is just excellent. Certain shots I have never seen before. Rome has been photographed millions of times, but never this way. It shows you completely different and beautiful angles of the city.

Was the message/theme clear?

I do not think of The Great Beauty as a message film. It’s an experience watching it, for all your five senses. There is a line at a certain point that says, “Rome, I do not love you anymore,” in the mouth of actor Carlo Verdone (the theater director), to criticize what Rome has become. But Rome has always been this way since the Roman times – a big party city, and all the great ideas and partnerships seem to be decided while enjoying life, eating, partying, having sex and sunbathing.

Did it remind you of any other works of film?

The only slight resemblance is with La Dolce Vita by Fellini, how it was then and how it is today in Rome.

To whom would you recommend this movie?

To anyone that loves aesthetics, intelligence, wit, humor, irony and truth.

Did any of the actors stand out?

The cast is wonderful, everyone totally believable. Toni Servillo (who plays protagonist Jep Gambardella), of course, is a genius. He showed that to us even in Il Divo, where he played our Italian prime minister Andreotti, and he excelled again here, playing this talented novelist who has become a social columnist, and we spend with him his 60th birthday.

What’s your favorite movie snack?

I secretly get nachos if I haven’t had dinner.

On a different note, what’s new with you?

I just published a book, My Mother, My Father and his Wife Hortense, available on Amazon, hard copy or Kindle. I’m working on reviewing the film script of my book, and looking for the right director. It will be shot in a villa in Tuscany and it’s a true love story.

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