La Dolce Vita

"Essential"

La Dolce Vita Review


Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Antonioni's L'Avventura were the dawn of the Italian New Wave in 1960, movies about the decadence, glamour and emptiness of middle class life. Placed side by side, they're a portrayal of Rome after the post-World War II economic boom, which led to a new distribution of leisure time for the privileged.

Antonioni's world is stark, cold, confounding, and filled with dead end corners. Fellini's world is more like a circus -- and while his characters are no less doomed than Antonioni's, coming face to face with a great emptiness underneath the glamour, they'll drown with pasted smiles on their faces, dancing the conga.

Charming Marcello Mastroianni (as a member of the paparazzi - the film's character "Paparazzo" is the origin of the word) wanders around the city of Rome flirting with all sorts of girls, ranging from back-alley whores to glamorous movie stars such as the lovely Sylvia (Anita Ekberg) as his current lady friend stays home moping. He figures a chance to wade around in some fountain with his dream date is worth a punch in the nose from his jealous lover.

Too bad it all means nothing. Federico Fellini's world is a joy to behold, filled with vitality, but also deceptively banal. Nothing much happens in the film, even with all that activity. That's why La Dolce Vita encourages repeated viewings, taking Rome either as a terrifying trap to swallow the unwary or a carnival ride worth riding.

Then we return to that momentous scene on the beach with Marcello falling on his knees. Decked out in a dapper white suit and black shirt, he looks great. His hair's a little tousled. He's had a rough night and maybe too much to drink. Much has happened to him by the end of the movie, and we wonder if it has changed him at all. In his small exchange with the girl across the way (where we only hear the sound of the waves), Fellini gives us all the information we need.

The beautiful, subtle, poetic conclusion with Marcello on a beach offering an elaborate mimed shrug is a wonderful moment, exemplary of the film. Is he happy or sad, or a little bit of both? Whatever he is, I could not help but be touched by the gesture and enjoyed hanging around with this guy for almost three hours.

The new and highly-anticipated Vita DVD includes two full discs, with commentary from writer Richard Schickel, introduction from director Alexander Payne, a collection of Fellini short films (made for Italian TV), and extensive retrospective and archival footage of the making of the film. Highly recommended.



La Dolce Vita

Facts and Figures

Genre: Romance

Run time: 174 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 19th April 1961

Box Office Worldwide: $19.5M

Distributed by: American International Picture

Production compaines: Pathé Consortium Cinéma, Riama Film, Société Nationale Pathé Cinéma

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 55 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Marcello Rubini, as Sylvia, as Maddalena, as Emma, as Fanny, as Steiner, Annibale Ninchi as Marcello's father, Walter Santesso as Paparazzo, Valeria Ciangottini as Paola, Riccardo Garrone as Riccardo, the Villa Owner, Ida Galli as Debutante of the Year, Lex Barker as Robert, Nadia Gray as Nadia, Adriano Celentano as Rock'n'roll Singer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.