The Italian director Paolo Sorrentino and the entire team from his film, The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), presented in Competition, answered questions from the press. Selected highlights.
Paolo Sorrentino on the origins of his film:
I've known Rome for quite some time. I first went there to work then moved there. I've been able to collect a great many anecdotes on the Roman middle classes and their evening parties. The Great Beauty is a reflection of that world. But it was the idea of the Toni character which gave me the idea to make the film. For me, poverty isn't something you tell stories about, it's something you live. That's why the film doesn't show material poverty so much as sheer emptiness. I wanted to look at what's hidden behind the apparent impoverishment of our country. This film is about the beauty of life.
Toni Servillo, the starring actor, on the comparisons made between The Great Beauty and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita:
I have the feeling that Fellini was looking down at Rome while leaning calmly on a guardrail. Paolo, on the other hand, gets down to the basement. I think that on the linguistic level, Paolo acknowledges the master who went before him. Fellini fed off the post-war enthusiasm. Here the film looks more at the missed opportunities. The tone is melancholic.
Toni Servillo, on his closeness to Paolo Sorrentino and his part in the film :
For me the four scripts Paolo Sorrentino has given me have been the gift of a lifetime. I also think that the fact we are both from Naples is a link between us. Neapolitans have this ability to keep a certain distance. Like Jep Gambardella in the film, he craves things as much as he likes losing them, but always with a certain lightness. I'm really happy to have had the chance to play this character, who I love really deeply.
Umberto Contarello, the scriptwriter, on the film's theme:
The Great Beauty is the story of a rebirth. The character of Jep Gambardella returns to writing. It's the thread running through the film, which is an ode to the beauty of words.
Reported by BP