The Great Beauty
The Great Beauty (Italy, 2013, Janus Films) sweeps me away. It is a paean to Rome, a tip of the hat to Fellini, and a thoughtful look at a man who peaked in his 20s with a successful novel on which he has been skating through life ever since posing as a cultural poobah until he reaches 65 and sees that it has all been terribly titillating, reliably diverting, but oh so banal.
John Boorman wrote, produced, and directed the 1987 film Hope and Glory (England, 1987, Columbia Pictures), relying heavily on his own childhood in London during the Blitz. I love it because he balances the terror with the hopes and dreams of a family struggling to keep itself intact. The actors are wonderful, but it is the grandfather, played by Ian Bannen, that lives most vividly in my memory.
— Walter Ritter, Write Out Loud cofounder