“I had rather be first in a village than second at Rome.”
—Julius Caesar (100 BC–44 BC)
“La Grande Bellezza” (“The Great Beauty”) is second to none. Its recent Oscar win as Best Foreign Language film proves its ranking among the best. I saw it in 2013; it is still showing at select theater as a result of its honor at the Academy Awards. This win also sets Italy apart as the country with the most Oscars wins for Best Foreign Language awards; now Italy has won 11 Oscars in this category.
The title of this post gives you an idea about the style of this film. Set in Rome, it follows a writer, Jep Gambardella played by Toni Servillo, through his days and nights about the Eternal City. The people he encounters and the situations he finds himself part of have a Felliniesque quality about them.
If you have visited Rome, some of the settings will be familiar, and yet new. For example, Jep gets a nighttime tour, with minimal lighting, of the Musei Capitolini. Seeing the ancient works of art under these mysterious conditions gives them a whole new look. Jep also owns an apartment with a terrace overlooking the Colosseum!
Fans of Fellini and those who love Rome (as I do!) would very much enjoy this movie!