The Eternal and the Noctural: La Grande Bellezza (2013)

I. The First Beauty Rome is the first (and perhaps the only) Beauty in La Grande Bellezza.  Artists, editors, mobsters, magicians, and businessmen are drawn to its splendor and immortality. Classical ruins only become more beautiful over time; immortality is beauty. Regret for the past, nostalgia, is beautiful. Rome was not always Italy’s most populated…

The Wonders by Alice Rohrwacher (2014)

Alice Rohrwacher, as shown by her lovely first feature film, Corpo Celeste, and her latest, The Wonders, is a first-rate filmmaker and thoroughly original storyteller. Her films convey confidence in her work, ability and subject matter, a sense of real wonder for the world, and a compassion for people, especially young women. The Wonders, while…

Pier Paolo Pasolini @ MoMA: Teorema (1968)

While Teorema is difficult for me to watch (talk about disrupting the bourgeois expectation of linearity), I adore its dreamy quality. Dreamy because of the unhampered Milanese bourgeois life, because of the random, misplaced, but inevitable sexual encounters which take place in different rooms, the gliding cinematography, the regal silences, and the uninhibited gentleness and…

Pier Paolo Pasolini@MoMA: Mamma Roma (1962)

Part social critique, part melodrama and entirely thrilling, this is probably one of Pasolini’s most mainstream and “linear” films, much closer in theme and feel to his Italian neo-realist peers. As with many of these films, the sacrifices the women make for their men lead to tragedy but, more important, serve to illustrate their fearlessness…