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I tempi stanno cambiando…

April 6, 2014

Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) strolls the streets of Rome like a tightrope walker balancing between times past, present, and future. He’s just turned 65 and a revelation from forty years past puts him in a self-reflective state of mind.

In La Grande Bellezza,  Paolo Sorrentino’s’ contemplation of a city, a culture, a cinema, the camera affects the gait of Jep, our protagonist, and we the audience willingly fall into step, following him down the  streets, piazzas, and fountains of the Eternal City.

That Jep’s walk reminds me of Burt Lancaster’s Prince Don Fabrizio Salina in Visconti’s Il Gattapardo is telling. Both men are in transition, having observed the passing parade, witnesses to the current state of things, ruefully aware that their time is just about up.

Jep walks through a twilight lit Rome. The city ever present, looms over him as if in a Fellini dreamscape.

The seaside landscapes, which comprise Jep’s reminiscences, shimmer like brightly lit mysteries in an Antonioni tale of contemporary alienation.

For me, La Grande Bellezza was a pleasure to watch; a movie experience we rarely get to see these days. At once looking back, an homage to Italian cinema, it remains very much a film not just of yesterdays, but for today and tomorrow.

My Voyage To Italy

 

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