La Dolce Vita (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

The opening shot shows a helicopter lifting a statue of Christ into the skies and out of Rome. God departs and paves the way for Fellini's extraordinarily prophetic vision of a generation's spiritual and moral decay. The depravity is gauged against the exploits of Marcello (Mastroianni), a playboy hack who seeks out sensationalist stories by bedding socialites and going to parties. Marcello is both repelled by and drawn to the lifestyles he records: he becomes besotted with a fleshy, dimwit starlet (Ekberg), he joins in the media hysteria surrounding a child's alleged sighting of the Virgin Mary, yet he longs for the bohemian life of his intellectual friend Steiner (Cuny). There are perhaps a couple of party scenes too many, and the peripheral characters can be unconvincing, but the stylish cinematography and Fellini's bizarre, extravagant visuals are absolutely riveting.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

1960

Duration:

176 mins

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usman khawaja

October 27th, 2009 1:52 amRating: AN WISTFUL AND WISE ITALIAN CAPRICE IN CANDOUR Fellini chooses sixties Rome to deliver an incisively hedonistic satire on modern contemporary european culture where degeneracy is fashionable and egomania out rules morality ,it becomes even more powerful as art and A SOCIAL statement when applied to the capital city of a religion that has itself become mostly a caprice , as the opening shot demonstrates in a mockery with two helicopters conveying a plaster statue of christ, being transported over the eclectic mix of ancient and ugly modern architectural design of Rome itself while semi -naked women sunbath on top of skyscrapers . The main prodigal protagonist involved in this exorcism to retrieve some sense is marcello ,a journalist who leads a vacuous superficial life covering the modern day news coverage as a gossip columnist and converging the freak circus that news media has become itself . He is belligerently intelligent and realises his redundant role in this lunatic milieu but as the rest of humanity he goes with the flow and the movie encompasses seven days in his frantic but uneventful life which is packed with events and disasters that will be ignored by him for the trivia that he exaggerates to sell his news media and that also echoes the indifference of humanity in general to anything of crucial importance while superficial instant trivia are celebrated in a gala cause . The women in his life are almost marionettes to him as they serve the purpose of a convenience as sexual objects ,ranging from his frustrated mistress who attempts suicide in a desperate gesture to his indifference and the rather sybaritic socialite heiress he attaches himself to played by Anouk aimee ,who takes him on his wild adventures in her posh sports car . The main event is his coverage of the arrival of a celebrity american actress visiting Roma played by Anita Ekberg who is the object of his desire and fascination like a sex toy while he interviews her and they mutually abuse and lusciously exploit each other in a degenerate manner , ultimately ending tragically in an icon of frustrated romance in the lush Trevi fountain . The epic satire is set in spectacular nightclubs ,with gala revues and musical cabarets and aristocratic italian castles where the superficial rich parade in their extravaganza in degenerate profligacy indulging every selfish whim. But it balances the act with showing the realistic squalor in inner Rome and the exploitation of the vulnerable who survive in despair on the fringes of this extroverted existence . Marcello is chasing a quest for happiness and love which is impossible to achieve even in an impossible dream like the symbolic sequence portrayed between him and Ekberg in the Trevi fountain which is the epitome of romantic travesty . Yet the final orgy in a beach house following the sensually intricate yet intellectually provoking ARISTOCRATIC party in a suburban Roman castle shows the reality of a degenerate culture in the most profound cynicism to be ever witnessed in cinema . The recurrent enchanting musical encores and the Balenciaga wardrobe just goes to provide the metaphorical sallow glamour and beauty which the pallid human spirit has lost in the centre of the great european civilisation and the absolute doom is demonstrated in a horrific sub-plot which covers the tragic, yet perfect life of a rich intellectual played by alan cluny ,who serves fellini as a metaphor for the ultimate fate of a festering and decaying civilisation . The events are abjure and alternately definitive which are open to vicarious interpretations with mastrioanni delivering an inexhaustibly fascinating act where he is virtually the centre piece in every sequence, though both anouk aimee and anita ekberg lack neither dazzling beauty or emotionally charged exchanges which leave the beholder stunned by their tantalising talent . This is livid ,angry ,elegiac wistful art which is intensely provoking and yet historically relevant laden with icons like the religious images mingled with sexual orgies and it is a testament to the travesty of modern existence that history will judge in its own time .

usman khawaja

October 27th, 2009 1:52 amRating: AN WISTFUL AND WISE ITALIAN CAPRICE IN CANDOUR Fellini chooses sixties Rome to deliver an incisively hedonistic satire on modern contemporary european culture where degeneracy is fashionable and egomania out rules morality ,it becomes even more powerful as art and A SOCIAL statement when applied to the capital city of a religion that has itself become mostly a caprice , as the opening shot demonstrates in a mockery with two helicopters conveying a plaster statue of christ, being transported over the eclectic mix of ancient and ugly modern architectural design of Rome itself while semi -naked women sunbath on top of skyscrapers . The main prodigal protagonist involved in this exorcism to retrieve some sense is marcello ,a journalist who leads a vacuous superficial life covering the modern day news coverage as a gossip columnist and converging the freak circus that news media has become itself . He is belligerently intelligent and realises his redundant role in this lunatic milieu but as the rest of humanity he goes with the flow and the movie encompasses seven days in his frantic but uneventful life which is packed with events and disasters that will be ignored by him for the trivia that he exaggerates to sell his news media and that also echoes the indifference of humanity in general to anything of crucial importance while superficial instant trivia are celebrated in a gala cause . The women in his life are almost marionettes to him as they serve the purpose of a convenience as sexual objects ,ranging from his frustrated mistress who attempts suicide in a desperate gesture to his indifference and the rather sybaritic socialite heiress he attaches himself to played by Anouk aimee ,who takes him on his wild adventures in her posh sports car . The main event is his coverage of the arrival of a celebrity american actress visiting Roma played by Anita Ekberg who is the object of his desire and fascination like a sex toy while he interviews her and they mutually abuse and lusciously exploit each other in a degenerate manner , ultimately ending tragically in an icon of frustrated romance in the lush Trevi fountain . The epic satire is set in spectacular nightclubs ,with gala revues and musical cabarets and aristocratic italian castles where the superficial rich parade in their extravaganza in degenerate profligacy indulging every selfish whim. But it balances the act with showing the realistic squalor in inner Rome and the exploitation of the vulnerable who survive in despair on the fringes of this extroverted existence . Marcello is chasing a quest for happiness and love which is impossible to achieve even in an impossible dream like the symbolic sequence portrayed between him and Ekberg in the Trevi fountain which is the epitome of romantic travesty . Yet the final orgy in a beach house following the sensually intricate yet intellectually provoking ARISTOCRATIC party in a suburban Roman castle shows the reality of a degenerate culture in the most profound cynicism to be ever witnessed in cinema . The recurrent enchanting musical encores and the Balenciaga wardrobe just goes to provide the metaphorical sallow glamour and beauty which the pallid human spirit has lost in the centre of the great european civilisation and the absolute doom is demonstrated in a horrific sub-plot which covers the tragic, yet perfect life of a rich intellectual played by alan cluny ,who serves fellini as a metaphor for the ultimate fate of a festering and decaying civilisation . The events are abjure and alternately definitive which are open to vicarious interpretations with mastrioanni delivering an inexhaustibly fascinating act where he is virtually the centre piece in every sequence, though both anouk aimee and anita ekberg lack neither dazzling beauty or emotionally charged exchanges which leave the beholder stunned by their tantalising talent . This is livid ,angry ,elegiac wistful art which is intensely provoking and yet historically relevant laden with icons like the religious images mingled with sexual orgies and it is a testament to the travesty of modern existence that history will judge in its own time .

Technoguy

This is a young man's film(Fellini) and centred on a remarkable young actor,Mastroianni,the cynical young reporter at the heart of the movie.I saw this 30 years a go and was saturated with it's 60s stereotypes in an age of transition from the sacred to the profane.The passing away of religion is symbolized by the carriage of Christ through the sky,parodying the 2nd Coming;also by the large dead fish washed up at the end on the shore.The 'sweet life' of the title does not exist.Drunkenness,despair and decadence stalk the Via Veneto,brothels,car parks ,night clubs and palaces for the diletante Marcello,who is searching for love and for a deeper life.He thinks his intellectual friend Steiner,married with 2 kids has the key.He holds musical and poetic soirees in his home.He also wants to write a novel.The fecundity of a young maestro's imagination is revealed in a ballet of movement and sound,the choreography of the camera,the motion of the actors.Cinema has since shed all such approaches to narrative like a snakeskin perhaps for the better as the focus has evolved and narrowed.The film remarkably lasts for 3 hours,which is hard to believe and could have done with some editing.Night and dawn alternate.The ending is poignant:a young girl wants to remind him of the novel he wanted to write someday,but he is hung over and cannot hear her shouting over the waves and her message is lost.

Technoguy

This is a young man's film(Fellini) and centred on a remarkable young actor,Mastroianni,the cynical young reporter at the heart of the movie.I saw this 30 years a go and was saturated with it's 60s stereotypes in an age of transition from the sacred to the profane.The passing away of religion is symbolized by the carriage of Christ through the sky,parodying the 2nd Coming;also by the large dead fish washed up at the end on the shore.The 'sweet life' of the title does not exist.Drunkenness,despair and decadence stalk the Via Veneto,brothels,car parks ,night clubs and palaces for the diletante Marcello,who is searching for love and for a deeper life.He thinks his intellectual friend Steiner,married with 2 kids has the key.He holds musical and poetic soirees in his home.He also wants to write a novel.The fecundity of a young maestro's imagination is revealed in a ballet of movement and sound,the choreography of the camera,the motion of the actors.Cinema has since shed all such approaches to narrative like a snakeskin perhaps for the better as the focus has evolved and narrowed.The film remarkably lasts for 3 hours,which is hard to believe and could have done with some editing.Night and dawn alternate.The ending is poignant:a young girl wants to remind him of the novel he wanted to write someday,but he is hung over and cannot hear her shouting over the waves and her message is lost.