Some of you may know by now that La Grande Bellezza by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards yesterday. Far from being a cinema specialist, I must confess the movie touched something profound in me and a complex series of feelings summed up one onto the other in this Italian heart. The beauty of Rome (i.e. the movie is dedicated to The Great Beauty), its art, the urban environment; that very specific hedonism that escapes from the city, yet almost lost in its ruins and past. And the Present.
Robbie Collin of the The Daily Telegraph likened it to Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita in its ambition to record a period of Roman history on film. "Rossellini covered the Nazi occupation of 1944; Fellini the seductive, empty hedonism of the years that followed. Sorrentino's plan is to do the same for the Berlusconi era," he wrote. I felt a sense of heart rending emptiness when the movie came to its end. And I am not ashamed to admit I felt like crying, for centuries.
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