Yes, everyone knows the story. Poor Leo left the Kodak theatre again without that little shiny piece of metal, called Oscar. I feel utmost sorry for him, but I am not here to augment the number of novels about his „catch me if you can” Oscar misery. Living in Rome, it’s my obligation to reflect on the gladsome happening that put back the cinema of Italy to its deserved place in the world. As a great pleasure for us, Sunday night Sorrentino’s masterpiece ’The Great Beauty’ won the first prize in the category of best foreign language films.
The first time I saw this fine piece of work was in Hungary. Inexplicably, there were hardly anyone interested in this movie, as we watched it together with less than ten people in one of the hidden screening rooms of the cinema. No hype, no advertisements and almost no audience, but we got three hours of beauty that left us breathless. Behind the stunning scenes, the story of Jep Gambardella, a 65 year old Italian writer enchants the spectator through a never-ending line of posh rooftop parties, high-class affairs and pure hedonism. However, behind the luxury glaze Jep only finds deep emptiness and engaging in a series of reflections he attempts to discover the great beauty of life. The Naples-born Sorrentino guides us into the world of Fellini through depicting the glamour of the eternal city alongside the moral emptiness of its high class people. Modern time perfection.
What about The wolf of Wall Street featuring Leo? When the movie hit the Hungarian cinemas, there was hardly any chance to avoid bumping into Leo’s face on the streets or on the screens of trams and buses. Such a great hype, plus never-ending lines in front of the cinemas. Undoubtedly, Martin Scorsese created a great movie again, though the recipe was quite simple: adopt the story of a best seller book, take Leo plus a pretty Hollywood blondy, add some sex and loads of drugs, Jonah Hill for the jokes and the holy richness that one decent man would never get in his life. Hypnotize, and make it sure that in the end the dumb spectator feels like that he needs to become the next Jordan Belfort.
And the lesson learned today? Maybe, sometimes it’s worth watching something different than super hero rubbish (and here I do not refert to Scoresese’s film) made for pure economic profit. It’s regrettable how people are being seduced through diverse marketing strategies to spend their money for worthless movies lacking any meaningful message / artistic value.
Hereby, I take the chance to encourage you to watch films like the one of Sorrentino. Nevertheless, after watching ’The Great Beauty’ you might feel an urging desire to discover the capital of Italy, my hosting city. I can assure you, it is not that kind of a trip which you will regret.