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.