The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) – 8.3

I could be wrong, but I found this Proustian: a famous writer who never produces a second book until, at last, he sees his aimless life as the subject. His madeleine? the naked breasts he is shown by a great beauty when he is 18. Maybe this is a stretch, but it fits the course of the movie, as Jep Gambardella goes from celebration to interview to private party to strip club to dinner to another party to an affair to a funeral to dinner party and on and on. The plot, certainly, is Proustian: there is no story arc, we just see a life in progress; characters come and go, while the narrator holds up his world for close inspection and general, if gentle, mockery. This is Italy, after all, and most particularly Rome. The Catholic church, modern art, the literary elite, sex, death, dining, tourism – all are viewed with a jaundiced eye. “My parties have the best ‘trains’ – they go nowhere.” The clothes are beautiful, the views of Rome are beautiful, the music is beautiful, the women are beautiful. We don’t have to decide if that is enough; we can just enjoy the view.

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