“La Grande Bellezza” (2013): il grande divertimento


For the most part, I loved the film, mi sono divertita un sacco!

I didn’t expect anything.. c’era una sola curiosita’, but I put off watching it for a long time (had TIFF tickets last September!) because everybody was talking about it, some said che e’ un capolavoro, altri che e’ sbagliato e sopravvalutato, and there was an Oscar (which doesn’t at all mean it’s a ‘must-see’), a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Palm d’Or..

Vabbe’, now I’ve seen it and I’m happy!

Toni Servillo is amazing in the lead role, certo!, but Jep Gambardella is one wondrous narrator – that’s what I loved the most: come strascica le parole, ogni ben’ enunciata, calcolata, detto con importanza, un valore, lentamente, con un velo di grandezza..

Some phrases and entire dialogues are sensational:


|di sesso| “È così triste essere bravi: si rischia di diventare abili.”

|on account of sex| (It’s so sad being good /at something/, you risk becoming proficient)


– ma tu, che lavoro fai?

– io? io sono ricca..

– benissimo lavoro!

(- what work is it that you do?

– me? I’m rich..

– what a wonderful job!)


One of my favourite scenes was the botox-injection ‘clinic’. I won’t recount it in full, ma e’ un spasso!

“Vuoi tornare trent’anni indietro, quando a fine agosto pioveva sempre? Ecco, ti ci ho portato!”

(Would you like to turn back time, to 30 years ago when it would always rain at the end of August? Done, I transported you there!)


“Io per lavoro scrivo, e mi creda, quando si scrive si da corpo a fantasie, immaginazioni, bugie”

(I am a writer by profession, and believe me, when one writes, all the fantasies, imagination and lies gain substance)


“Ma guarda ‘sta gente, ‘sta fauna! Questa e’ la mia vita, non e’ niente. Flaubert voleva scrivere un romanzo sul niente, non c’e’ riuscito. Ci posso riuscire io?”

(Check these people out, this wildlife. This is my life, and it’s nothing. Flaubert wanted to write a novel about nothing, and didn’t succeed. Could I?”


“Che cosa avete contro la nostalgia, eh? È l’unico svago che resta per chi è diffidente verso il futuro, l’unico.”

(What do you have against nostalgia, huh? It is the only amusement that remains for those who are wary of the future, the only one.)


“..la vita nascosta sotto il bla bla bla. È tutto sedimentato sotto il chiacchiericcio e il rumore. In fondo, è solo un trucco. Sì, è solo un trucco.”

(..life hidden under all the bla bla bla, the residue underneath all the chatter and noise. In the end, it’s just a trick. Yes, just a trick.)


– Proust scrive che la morte potrebbe coglierci questo pomeriggio. Non domani, non tra un anno ma questo stesso pomeriggio, scrive.
– Vabbè tanto adesso è sera, domani pomeriggio se ne riparla…

(- Proust wrote that death could come at us this afternoon. Not tomorrow, not in a year, but this very afternoon, he writes.

– Oh well, seeing how it’s evening already, let’s check in again tomorrow afternoon..)


– Se non prendo sul serio Proust, chi devo prendere sul serio?
– Niente, niente devi prendere sul serio — eccetto il menu, naturalmente..

(- If I don’t take Proust seriously, who should I take seriously?

– Nothing should be taken seriously, nothing – except the menu, of course..)


Seems that Paolo Sorrentino tackles serious issues and topics, but he does it in a way that exasperates the Italian public.. not in a sense of creating a parody, but highlighting the silliness which exists, not in sottofondo, ma proprio come una caratteristica principale.. you can see how exasperating that is when it becomes a realisation..

(In particular, that the Roman intelligentsia and high society listen and suggestively dance to eurohouse every night of the week, “pure i lunedì, quando non si manifestano neppure gli spacciatori di popper” / even on Mondays, when popper dealers don’t even venture out).

But, as they said right there, “In questo Paese, purtroppo, per farsi prendere sul serio bisogna prendersi sul serio” (In this country, unfortunately, in order for people to take your seriously, you have to take yourself seriously)..

..ma, lasciamo perdere!



3 thoughts on ““La Grande Bellezza” (2013): il grande divertimento

  1. haha I loved it! I didn’t think it was inaccurate, just a bit parodic maybe. Can easily be misconstrued, which is why I think there was a lot of backlash (:

  2. The Great Beauty of our contry’s past can be easily soffocating to our minds…non è facile liberarsene!

  3. Serious movie, with serious messages wrapped in an Italian style. Love it.

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