Italian director Paolo Sorrentino offers an update of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita for the Silvio Berlusconi era. Rome, once again, is portrayed as a centre of spiritual stagnation, alleviated by moments of surreal beauty. The protagonist is a journalist, Jep (Tony Servillo), who, after one promising novel, has wasted his talent chronicling the party set, church officials and intelligentsia, whom he entertains on his terrace overlooking the Colosseum. The film opens with his bacchanalian 65th birthday, which marks the beginning of a crisis for Jep, who attempts to reconcile his desire for purity with his flamboyant imagination and worldly temptations. Cinematography of the Eternal City by Luca Bigazzi is consistently stunning.
At VIFF: Oct. 7, 1 p.m., Playhouse; Oct. 10, 8:45 p.m., Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts