In that wonderful, wonderful film, 'Spartacus', there is a scene in which Julius Caesar, played by John Gavin, is talking to Marcus Licinius Crassus, played with great gusto, as per, by dear old Larry Olivier. The topic of their conversation is Rome.
Julius Caesar: 'Rome is the mob.'
Marcus Licinius Crassus: 'No! Rome is an eternal thought in the mind of God.'
Julius Caesar: 'I'd no idea you'd grown religious.'
Marcus Licinius Crassus: [laughs] 'It doesn't matter. If there were no gods at all I'd still revere them. If there were no Rome, I'd dream of her.'
It was in that spirit that I approached my first ever viewing of 'La Grande Bellezza'. I had missed it at the cinema in Italy and I had missed it at the cinema in London. Very careless of Your Cultural Correspondent (Film and Theatre), I know. But I did purchase it on my Easter visit to la città bella after asking one of my Italian friends what they thought about it.
Strangely, it had had the same effect on them as it had on me….
Read more »