Editor’s note: Our review of The Great Beauty originally ran during this year’s Cannes film festival, but we’re re-posting it as the film opens in limited theatrical release today. Paolo Sorrentino‘s latest film, The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), opens with a sizeable quote lengthy enough that the English subtitles at this evening’s Cannes Film Festival screening had to zoom through it at lightning speed, giving non-natives a chance only to speed-read the mounting context of the piece. Still, it isn’t long before a character brings us up to speed with the film’s focal question – “what do you enjoy most in life?” Jep Gambardello (Tony Servillo) finds himself trying to answer this for most of The Great Beauty, which opens with a bizarre sequence in which a man taking snaps around Italy suddenly drops dead, hitting the thematic nail on the head right from the first frames. The scene soon enough changes to a seductive, lengthy montage set inside a club, a regular haunt of the 65-year-old Jep, now entering the final stages of his life and getting a little dewey-eyed about it. While still having trysts with beautiful women, he no longer enjoys it in the same way, and his existential crisis reaches its apex when he learns that his old flame Elisa has died suddenly.