Great Beauty; In Praise of Originality
Director: Paolo Sorrentino. Screenplay: Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarlo. Cinematographer: Luca Bigatzi. Music: Lille Marcitelli. Edited by: Cristiano Travaglioli. Actors: Tony Cervilo, Sabrina Ferrilli, Carlo Verdone, Carlo Bouchirozo, Lia Forte, Galati Renzi, Pamela Villourzi, Giorgio Pasotti, Isabella Ferrari, Serena Grande, Massimo Populizio, Franco Gruncio Grancio Francesco, Roberto Herlitzka, Ivan Frank, Fanny Ardant, Anna Della Rosa, Vernon Dubcev, Anita Krauss, Dario Cantarli, Pasquale Petrolo, Giuseppe Merli, Aldo Rally.
Paolo Sorrentino’s sixth film has an intertextual relationship with his first five films; this relationship can be investigated both in terms of subject matter and characters in the film. There are themes such as love, art, politics, and organized crime in Sorrentino’s earlier works which is implicitly addressed in this film. Also, the presence of characters that may not help the story much in terms of narration is more to emphasize the characters of his past films; For example, the character of Gilo Monta, who plays the role of a mysterious person who does not speak in the Great Beauty film, is reminiscent of The Consequences of Love film of Sorrentino in 2003, which explains the role of Mafia in the lives of its members and ordinary people. Or the puppet trader in this film, which is reminiscent of the 2006 Friend of the Family film; Or Stephanie’s remarks about the party go back to the Star film 2008, which is clearly a critique of Berlusconi’s fascist government. Concepts such as frustration and the tangible presence of art also refer back to This Must Be the Place film 2011; Finally, the comic elements and concepts of frustration refer to the 2001 film A Man Rises.
By placing the film’s main character, Jepp Gambardella, in this familiar community, Sorrentino is trying to achieve the reality that he has already shown in his films; There are also scenes that may have less narrative functionality to achieve the same kind of realism.
The drama of Great Beauty is an inner journey in search of knowledge and attainment of superior beauty. Jepp is a 65-year-old man, author, and journalist. Many years has passed since writing his first and only short novel, a masterpiece of Italian literature and after nearly four decades it is now the candle of literary circles in Rome. But he is no longer interested in writing, and is currently only interviewing and writing articles for Dedina, a friend and editor of an elitist magazine, and is increasingly trying to use his resources to have fun; But his 65th birthday coincides with a further reflection on the reality of his own existence and the society in which he lives.
Narration of the first sequence
The film begins with a part of the novel “Journey to the End of the Night” by Luis Ferdinand Cellini written on a black screen that likens life to an inner journey. The moving and quick camera of the film displays images from the city of Rome including buildings and statues in portray mode which cuts into the next plan in which a group of tourists in Rome. As tourists visit, an acoustic opera is set up in an adjacent ancient building by a woman who, apart from her role in shaping viewers’ expectations to see a film full of all the six arts, can also be regarded as a defamiliarizing roles from images that the viewers normally observe. Of course, the film’s dynamic searching camera helps defamiliarization more than other elements by being very active and capturing images from strange angles.
After these images, with the audio cut from the scream of a woman with a loud and abnormal voice, the atmosphere of the film changes into Jepp’s birthday party. After capturing scenes from individual and group dances as well as displaying performance from strange angles that are more specific to the video clip. When it comes to group dance, it is reminiscent of Bollywood cinema, but here the director has a special goal and that is to introduce the protagonist in a special situation with slow motion and an ambiguous slimming narration filled with a depressed feel and an exaggerated indifference that refers the viewer to Federico Fellini’s films, especially 8 ½.
These initial images and writings prepare the viewer’s mind to see a film about the author’s inner journey, a psychological journey formed by connecting with the characters in the film, in search of pure and authentic beauty. The eagerness to find out this subject is to shed light on the concept of value from Jepp’s point of view, embAlicehed with beautiful images taken in Rome.
From Robert McKay’s point of view, the story does not fall within the scope of the story triangle, because the hero’s situation does not change dramatically and irreversibly at the beginning and end of the film. He has started writing on his own, maybe a minor change after the movie causes him to stop writing again so this change is so minor that the film cannot be included in this category. Also, internality of the forces and problems of film’s protagonist place the structure of plot somewhere between the main plot and the subplot. However, the film has some of the characteristics of main plot including alone and active character, linear time, cause and effect relationships, and stability in relation to the world that lays the foundation. The cause and effect relationships in this film are mostly planned as planting and harvesting, and the world that is portrayed is completely real and far from transcendental elements, the only place where this is violated is the scene at the end of the film where Maria’s sister send the birds to travel by blowing, but this scene becomes quite believable to the viewer due to the character that has been earlier shaped for her in the plot.
Both because of its European nature and the director’s work experience, the film also creates this expectation that we will not be dealing with a film in the style of classic Hollywood films that depicts certain events at specific times. This is also evident in the text of the dialogues, narrations, filming, and dynamic and static images that are intertwined, thus achieving a perfect fit between form and content.
Great Beauty has two lines of plot; First, the life story of a depressed writer who has reached emptiness in his life and the society in which he lives, and the contradictions between subject and object have formed a deep rift in his mind that does not seem to be filled. This has been achieved by placing the character in different situations in relation to those around him so that he feels the falsity of life and ultimately emptiness.
The second story line is also related to Jepp’s memories of his youth with his mistress on an island where they went to spend holidays, and this issue has exacerbated the gap. Jepp is a wealthy, famous man, immersed in happiness and, in his own words, does not have the strong mathematics to calculate the number of women he has been with, but he always has the dream of a mistress of his youth and never seemed to have reached her.
The film’s story expands its time in relation to the film’s plot in two flashbacks; one about Jepp’s memories and the other about Ramona’s only brief recollection of her first sexual experience. In both plots, it does not provide comprehensive information about the film’s story at that time. Even according to the information which are partially and step by step displayed about the memories of Jepp’s memories in the beach of that island, no details are presented regarding the story world of those days and this relation and its intensity remains a secret. But in the present and where the plot of the story depicts the present time, we are observing ambiguity albeit not completely.
1. Tourists of Rome
2. Party: Jepp’s birthday
3. Jepp’s dream; Children’s games
4. Jepp’s interview with Talia Concept; A woman banging her head against a wall
5. Dedina’s office, editor of the magazine
6. The dormitory where Romano lives; Theater and poverty
7. Party and going to a woman’s house in Milan
8. Return of one of the women present in the party to house and seeing her crazy son who has dyed himself red.
9. Jepp’s walking beside the river and returning home and seeing the husband of his youth lover and finding out about her death.
10. Flashback: Summer on the island
11. Romano’s dormitory; Being original as well as a loving women
12. Night party; Jepp’s argument with Stephanie
13. Jepp goes to see his old friend, who owns the bar, and his daughter, Ramona
14. Physician’s office
15. Restaurant date with Ramona, flashback to Ramona’s memory, going to Jepp’s house
16. The party of the great collector of modern works of art in Rome and going to the house of nobles of Rome to visit the works of classical art
17. Choosing clothes and getting ready to go to the mourning ceremony of a boy who dyed himself red
18. Performing Romano’s play reading and his decision to return to his childhood village, going to the circus performance place and saying goodbye to Jepp
19. Jepp goes to Alice’ husband’s house and sees his new wife
20. The second party at Jepp’s house
21. Seeing the gallery of portrait photos of a person whose photos were collected since childhood
22. Lunch ceremony with Cardinal and other friends
23. Dedina's house and setting an interview with Maria’s sister
24. Seeing Maria’s sister and the hand-kissing ceremony by the monks and nuns
25. Inviting princes who are now poor at Jepp’s party on the occasion of presence of Maria’s sister
26. Appointment of party and dinner at Jepp’s house with the presence of Maria's sister
27. Maria’s sister climbing the long stairs and reaching the photo of Jesus Christ
28. Narration of Jepp’s thoughts and dreams on the beach with Alice and deciding to write again
Cause and effect relationships:
Most of the events in the film have a realistic existential reason; in this regard, it follows Hollywood’s classic cinema to some extent. Here are some of them:
1. Jepp’s despair and emptiness have caused him to hold parties in order to forget the horror of the resurrection day by distracting herself in the crowd and noise.
2. Jepp’s 65th birthday makes him feel that he running out of have time, which causes him to mentally separate himself from the environment and rise against the current situation by objectifying himself and the community with which he interacts.
3. The reason why children are so attracted to Jepp and they are always in his dreams (3) is clarified when he tells Alice’s husband about his ability to have children (9).
4. The reason for visiting the doctor was that he had talked to Ramona and called her old.
5. Romano’s decision to return was due to her conversations with Jepp, as well as her lover’s unkindness.
6. The presence of the first nuns in the film, as well as the proximity of Jepp’s house to the church, foretells the existence of a religious element at the end of the film.
7. There is a narration in the middle of the film in which Jepp expresses his intention to become the king of a luxurious life, which justifies his frankness to Stephanie (division of plot number 12).
8. The reason Jepp complains about Talia Concept in a third-person way (4) is because of Jepp’s house maid, who always speaks in the third person.
Also in this film, images and sayings that are done without preamble and randomly are used later, and their presence initially seems logical by dramatizing, for example, the lines that the jets leave in the sky at the beginning of the film and we see the sky from Jepp’s perspective with a pov view has two functions later: first, the ceiling of Jepp’s room which is always seen as a lake in which a motorboat moves towards his youth. Second, these lines are similar a woman who consumes cocaine at the second party (20).
Of course, in spite of all the above examples, it is inevitable that there will be some logical problems to advance the story or get out of the main theme and maintain the storytelling rhythm; The puppet trader’s bizarre enthusiasm at the first party (2) to sleep with Romano’s lover may not be a reasonable justification, and maybe the intertextual motivation which was mentioned previously is the main reason for its presence but knowing this issue does not affect the main story line of the film. When Jepp and Stephanie dance with Cardinal (22) at a lunch ceremony, showing why the relationship between the two is so good after the debate (12) may be exaggerated. Finally, the disappearance of Maria’s sister on the night of Jepp’s dinner party (26) does not make much sense given the attention she attracted from others, and only has a motive to move the story forward.
But there are some artistic tricks that the director uses; A coordinated dance scene at the first party (2) that simultaneously recalls both the dance tradition in Indian cinema and gives the film a video clip, or when the camera is turned upside down. There is no reason for this kind of filming except the director’s opinion and taste.
There are also cases that do not provide a definitive answer to the existential reason of phenomena and events, such as the opening scene of the film, in which a tourist, who is not known, suffers from Stendhal syndrome and faints by seeing the amazing beauty. Perhaps the only function of showing tourists is the Jepp’s sentence at the party (7) regarding that the best people of Rome are its tourists. However, in another scene where Jepp cries for the young boy’s death (17), at the beginning of the film, when the mother is annoyed by the child’s insanity, she asks Jepp to help her where he strangely prevents helping the mother. It is also not clear what is the reason for crying at his funeral; It can be due to show-off which is against Jepp’s beliefs or due to his grief over the death of someone who did not understand anything about life and ended his life with depression caused by reading Proust’s books; there is no definitive answer.
A more important issue is the separation of Jepp and Alice at a young age, which is never stated and it is not clear what is the reason for Jepp’s not writing. In the second party (20), Jepp belives that the reason is the emptiness of life of himself and others, but implicitly this feeling arises that the reason for this is the mental separation resulted from separation from Alice. His only novel, a romance novel, was written when he was with Alice, and he finds out that she is dead right when she has fallen in love with Ramona coinciding with sparkle of writing a new novel in his mind, a novel that is probably about emptiness because he talks about the Flaubert’s unfulfilled intention to write a novel about emptiness in two parts of the film. It would not be unreasonable to imagine writing this novel based on his mental state and his interest in achieving originality.
The main locations displayed in the plot are the Jepp’s House, restaurant, river, Romano’s dormitory, bar, Romano’s house yard, church, Milanese lady’s house (7), and finally the island where Jepp spent his youth on holiday. One of the main goals of the film is to introduce the city of Rome as one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, Sorrentino has created a dramatic role for any place that he went. This does not end with places that are open to the public, for example, views of the artwork of the aristocracy. Sorrentino repeats this so many times that it is referred to as film-tourism.
Composition in most of the film’s images is vertical, and whether it is symmetrical or asymmetrical usually depends on the tension as well as the tempo on the stage, often in cases where even relative calm prevails on the stage, horizontal composition is used.
Unlike the classic cinematic decoupage, which first shows the introductory scene then more detailed views from the scene or character components, in this film Sorrentino does not limit himself to this work, and in each scene with the aesthetics that he intends, he uses all the capabilities of decoupage. For example, at the beginning of the film and from sequence 1 to sequence 2, he cuts with a scream that is abnormal and the size of the close-up view, and after this view, he introduces the space to us with an introductory view.
This film, like the other films of this director, is being edited continuously and violates these rules when it has a specific purpose. In some parts of the film, it cuts from Jepp to Jepp with a single size view just by changing his clothes, which leads to jump causing the viewer to notice a change in the sequence.
But in other parts of the corresponding cut, graphical adaptation, visual line adaptation, the reverse view/view is done as continuous editing. In the category of camera movement, this editing also happens. The movable views are cut to moving views and static views to each other.
Graphic cut is often used in a sequence and joining plans with similar color, theme, and angle to integrate the plans and scenes within a sequence.
In general, music and sound have been used to soften or sharpen the cuts in an appropriate way. In 5 cases, music and unusual sounds have been used more intensely than previous plan to create a jump, and the goal is to transfer to the new plan with complete awareness, but in most of the plans, the continuing music and dialogues have been used to soften the cuts.
Contradiction is one of the film’s most repetitive motifs, it happens first when sequence 1 is cut into sequence 2; Opera music to party music, contrasts that continue to create meaning by recognizing the taste and feel of the Jepp. This issue is repeated over and over in this film, such as the contrast in modern painting (16) and going to the House of Princes and seeing classical art or where the frequency of cutting from a sexy woman to a veiled woman wearing a headscarf who went to a restaurant with her husband but not eating (13) or comparing the amount and type of food that Cardinal and Maria’s sister eat daily creates a striking contrast.
In another place, the nominal similarity between Ramona and Romano creates a shared feeling between the two, as well as a similar expectation of Jepp’s interest in the two. Also, when Jepp asks the magician, who has the ability to disappear giraffe in the circus, to disappear him, the magician tells him that he cannot do it, while Romano comes to say goodbye to Jepp (18), at a time when Jeppp’s attention is distracted by Romano, the magician disappears the giraffe and tells Jepp: It's all a trick! The sentence is repeated at the end of the film in a narration that Jepp repeats about his intention to write, and conceptually creates symmetry.
Time is not recognizable in the plot of Great Beauty because night turns into day and day to night without any explanation, the pass of a month, a year and maybe more will not be distinguished, but the issue which is clear is that the time of plot and story are not equal; the story begins at Jepp’s young age and covers an area of nearly 40 years, but the time of the plot may not exceed 2 years, and the time of the film is 140 minutes.
In general, most of the events of the film are based on the sequence of events form, the length of which in most cases is equal to the actual time of the event, except for two cases, first, the slow motion at the beginning of the film (2) and second the doctor’s office (14) where prevents displaying all of them by counting the numbers of patients. The scene of climbing of Maria’s sister, who is cut in to Jepp’s face in a parallel way is apparently connected at the same time but with a sequential presentation.
Flashbacks to Jepp’s memories have repetitions, and cut from a sexy woman to a veiled woman has a frequency that has been repeated twice.
Narration in the Great Beauty
The film’s narration begins with a part of the novel “The Journey to the End of the Night”, which is written, and then images of the city of Rome, sculptures and then the tourist suddenly faints, then it cuts to the party, which is accompanied by screams. The initial scenes and party scenes are slightly ambiguous until Jepp Gambardella comes out of the dance with a slow motion and describes a narration as a mystery. It is a bit confusing to find a clear connection between these difficult images, plans that are explained in the future and dramatized.
Answering the questions in the initial narration form of the film is shown on Jepp’s image (2); First, the answer is provided then the question is asked, a reverse structure which is repeated in some events, for example, the flashback scene in which Ramona recalls her first sexual intercourse in a restaurant (15). Initially. A young man playing football as a non-homogeneous cut which creates a jump is provided, then the viewer obtains the visual information he has seen.
The film has a hero and a narrator, Jepp; After a symbolic introduction as the protagonist in the 10th minute until the end of the film, in only 4 scenes and an initial short sequence, there are a total of 5 cases in which Jepp is not present where no significant event directly related to the main storyline happens (1, 7, 23, 24, 26); in other parts of the film, Jepp narrates the film. In most cases our information is as much as the information of Jepp, even when this balance is disturbed, the information between the viewer and the film’s character becomes equal by adding multiple narrations creating a suspension. In two cases, the viewer feels that a secret is hidden in the film and Jepp is aware of it and he does not know anything about it, but then he realizes that Jepp either does not have any information or at least thinks he has it.
1. The reason for his break up with Alice in his youth; When Jepp goes to Alice’s husband house (19), he asks Alice’s husband to read her diary to find out why Alice left him and inform him.
2. The reason why he no longer writes; At the second party (20) he points out that the reason I do not write is that my life and the society in which I live is empty, but implicitly the film points out that maybe the reason for not writing was Alice and the fantasy that never left him. Her first and only novel was written when Alice was in her life, and the subject of the novel is love, which, with the death of Alice and the way she forgot her husband, as well as her acquaintance with Ramona and the experience of love, he decides to write again.
Film analysis in this way, single narrator, to form the main character in the visual language, needs the presence of sub-characters with the help of whom the story is formed and moved forward, characters who are often shadows and we did not have much information about them or we will have a completely superficial information about them; Our level of identification with them is completely controlled so as not to disrupt the relationship we have with the Jepp.
Two characters who receive more attention than others are Ramona and Romano, who are similar in name. Romano, his 40-year friend in Rome, who was omitted from the film by returning to her childhood village after that her relationship with the viewer was becoming stronger. Second, Ramona, the daughter of her old friend who died of an incurable disease and was removed from the story.
The film has different aspects; politics, love, art, originality, faith and belief. But all of these aspects are based on Jepp’s mental journey after the age of 65 and the search for the meaning of life, originality, the real self, regardless of circumstances and relationships, and the attainment of beauty. Jepp initially does this himself, where after flirting with a woman who was in the party (7), when he was not interested in seeing her nude photos, he left there and a narration which implied that he abandons things that he is not keen on to try to find his true self without any masks. But this was the beginning of his self-realization, he continues this trend by pointing out to Romano for not imitating what others had said in her screenplay (6), as well as his reckless talk about Stephania’s character and past and present (12), and the revelation of nature and reality of Stephanie until reaching the final scene with Maria’s sister:
Maria’s sister: Why didn’t you write another book?
Jepp: Because I was looking for beauty and I never found it
Maria's sister: Do you know why I just eat root? ... because the roots are important.
He also fell in love with someone who was like her true self more than anyone else; Ramona. The goal that Jepp was looking for, and perhaps the key to the futility problem that had engulfed him and those around him, was originality. After talking to Maria’s sister, he decides to write; with this explanation, his awareness of why he has not written for all these years becomes more significant, and this is the case where Jepp’s awareness is relatively higher than the viewer.
But the only thing that will surely remain a mystery to the viewer until the end is the extent of Jepp’s love and friendship with Alice, their relationship, duration and depth of friendship.
Despite being visual, the film is very subjective and constantly enters the viewer’s mind. This action shows his interest in children by going to his dream and narrating children who are playing which becomes stronger after his discussion with Alice’s husband or through the narration; also the viewer’s look is involved in helping the film’s subjectivity; pov is very common in this film, for example, seeing old men running along the river (9) and also watching children playing on the day after the first party (2) going to his memories by looking at the ceiling of the room (10), and seeing the artwork (16) can be mentioned. There is narration in cases 2, 6, 8, 19, 27.
The obvious part of the film is celebration, joy and spending the time in the best possible way, but the hidden layer of the film is the vacuum which Jepp feels inside himself; this subject is expressed by going into Jepp’s mind using cinematic arrangements. The film is a search for beauty, but it is done reluctantly, and there is despair behind every event. The character seeks to find this outside of himself, given that he has the power to distinguish right from wrong, and every time he discovers this beauty outside, he is fascinated by it.
The film uses cinematic techniques and styles in each episode as needed, and never limits itself to using a particular style continuously throughout the film; For example, when it wants to show the beating of Talia Concept’s head on the of the bridge (4) to achieve realism, a continuous image with a plan and deep field is shown, but in other scenes, the mise-en-scène and decoupage are designed based on the needs.
The important point is how the method of filming at the beginning of the film (1), the way people, sculptures and historical buildings are filmed where the camera dolly-in the subject and before reaching and focusing on it, it cuts into the next plan and this rhythm continues. In this sequence, the camera approaches the subject with traveling and by passing it with a plan, looks again at the subject in second movement. This form of filming has been used in the way the film is narrated, we do not get too close to the characters, we look at them and we pass them, it happens to all the events of the film, Jepp, who is the viewer’s full representative and whatever he sees the viewers also see, does not focus too much on any element, and if he does, that element is removed from the film. This is the form of going into space and position; Excessive mobility and passing it. An example of this is Jepp’s walking, which forces the viewer to cooperate with Jepp’s curiosities by showing a pov from his point of view. This feature is used for all povs where Jepp is simultaneously moving. Passing is a goal that filming is trying to instill.
The first 10 minutes of the film, no matter how complicated and confusing the narrative, the style tries to strike a balance using the important codes that it presents. Style helps logic in some moments of the film; As events unfold in a subconscious way, we will not ask ourselves why Jepp held party after the death of someone who gave him the chance to experience love after years and praised Rome’s trains. Despite that we have no knowledge of Alice and her relationship with Jepp, we identify with Jepp for losing Alice, because in this transient world that is displayed, the presence of an immortal factor in his mind is respected.
The composition also helps to understand the next scenes we want to see. In objective scenes, Jepp is usually placed in the centrifugal frame on the golden dots, but when we are going to enter his mind, it is usually center oriented framing and Jepp is in the center of the image and usually the camera approaches him. Using vertical framing in scenes with more tempo and horizontal framing for static scenes is worth mentioning.
Utilizing view/ front view plans is based entirely on the need for different views and maintaining the editing rhythm. The use of match cut has been effective in the form of this editing, but it does not show much adherence to the classic principles of Hollywood cinema, for example: Where Jepp and Ramona go from a restaurant to Jepp’s house (15), after using this technique for many times when for entering the memories of Jepp, a close up view with neutral angle is used and the camera approaches with a dolly-in. In the editing, considering that it does not follow the classical rules, it does not try to confuse the viewer, and with the form that it defines from the beginning, it acquaints the viewer with seeing the jumps between the sequences. In continuous scenes related to a sequence, continuous editing is often used, except in cases where it is tried to explain the extent of relationships between the characters in the film, which is carried out using stylistic changes, such as Romano and her mistress are arguing (20), this subject is expressed by passing the hypothetical 180-degree line. In sequence 7, using the same technique, the relationship between Jepp and a woman from Milan is described as mortal. Of course, given the existence of two approaches to the hypothetical line: one that assumes the 180-degree hypothetical relying on having an eye-to-eye view while the other approach is antithetical to this view, considering the line between all the characters. According to the purpose of these fractures for explaining the upcoming events and lack of vision between characters in the mentioned moments, Sorrentino seems to agree with the second approach.
In terms of graphic editing, the director usually changes the scenes in a single sequence very softly, but the sequence changes are usually more violent and intersect with the change in screen size, Kelvin, camera angle, and stillness and dynamics (cut from 19 to 20) or by using abnormal sound changes (cuts from 1 to 2). In one case, he used an anomalous voice in the scene, when Maria’s sister was lost, her servant was looking for her, screaming comically and unreasonably (26), which has an artistic motive.
The filming, as stated earlier, does not adhere and conform to the movements of the character in the motion scenes. With this arrangement, it avoids the classic rules that are based on not doing anything that distances the viewer and makes him aware of technical factor. This issue contributes to subjectivism; The camera plays the role of Jepp’s eyes, depicting everything he sees and feels, even when there is no pov, the approaching moves of the camera to character and accessory and passing them takes place as if it is through Jepp’s eyes. Tracking is done only when Jepp is moving if he is stationary and without movement, travelling is done. Regarding lighting of film, the light is provided only according to the needs of the stage and does not insist on 3D lighting of classical style. In most cases, there are the main light and the filler light. The backlight is usually removed, but in cases where we have images with deep field, it has a narrative function and is used to show the distance of the film’s characters. Accessories have also been used to rationalize the lights used in the film, and in outdoor scenes, lighting has taken place in the same way.
Philosophical reading of the film
One of the most important aspects of The Great Beauty is its existentialist view of life and the meaning of existence that the film implicitly addresses. To examine this, the four category of William C. Pamerlo in the book Existentialist Cinema including Representation, Freedom, Meaning and Social Situation are used their relevance to film is explained.
1. Representation of the real world
As mentioned earlier, the film is based on representation of real world in such a way that it has used some less important issues to achieve more realism. Mental realism as Fellini and Antonioni used in the past. As we enter Jepp Gambardella’s mind, we see all his thoughts. But the objective aspect of the film acquaints the viewer with different aspects of life in Rome.
The concept of freedom is the main topic addressed in Existence and Non-Existence book by Jean-Paul Sartre, in which he considers man as a being with full will and free will to achieve his existential meaning. Freedom is a concept to determine Dasein’s responsibility in life. However, the representation of this concept is evident in the film in the decisions of Jepp Gambardella as well as his thoughts on helping his friends. He did not hesitate to do anything or say anything to achieve authenticity and cooperation with himself (4, 6, 7, 12, 26).
3. Meaning in life
All characters in the film are looking for meaning. A meaning that shapes their lives. As Sartre puts it, “Life is nothing until it is lived, but it is up to you to give it meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning you choose.” According to Sartre, meaning is created by the power of choice, if a person is forced to choose a procedure for his life due to the compulsion of different religions and rituals at different times, and in that – according to the definition of the same religion and rituals- achieves meaning, it is not valuable and he has not flourished this in himself. Having freedom of will in the sense that Sartre expresses is the main pillar of the search for meaning. With the explanations given about Jepp’s character, he practices freedom, and in this way he seeks a meaning for life which he implicitly calls beauty.
4. Social situation
Existentialism on the impact of social relations on the formation of individual, where Heidegger enumerates the limitations of Dasein, addresses the issue of “being with others”, which is itself a testament to the importance they place on society and its effects. The film’s characterization technique is achieved by placing Jepp in a different social position, another reason to place the film in the group of existentialist films.
Explanations about the film’s commonalities with the philosophy of existentialism may not have been the director’s initial intention to describe such events -although some of these concepts are expressed symbolically- the aesthetics of existentialist philosophy in the art of cinema and drama to depict the circumstance of human is founded as it is which causes the first steps to be taken for making an existentialist film if the aesthetics intended by the director is founded on realism.
Realism in a sense resulted from experience, the viewer’s personal experience that, if expressed with freedom of choice, is the same aesthetics of Andre Bazen regarding the realist existentialist cinema, but this form of realism encompasses a few films, at least does not include this film. Existentialist realism seeks more mental realism. If we define reality as a realistic transfer of human experience, it will encompass a wider range of films.