La Dolce Vita Reviews
In the credits that begin this work realized in 1960, already deserves attention the group responsible for the script, besides Federico Fellini himself who directed and co-written "La Dolce Vita", there are expressive names in the construction and expressivity of the Italian cinematography, such as: Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Told with such a diverse group of writers who were also thinkers, critics, directors, philosophers, teachers and journalists, the option of dividing the film in a prologue, seven episodes with subdivisions, and an epilogue becomes more noticeable. Still, we have a whole, that is, all divisions and subdivisions are consolidated into a homogeneous whole and yet separate and conscious and necessary for the construction of this social critique, full of metaphors and symbologies for a future local (Rome), but Which is a microcosm of a global situation, an emptying of our lives, where we act more like puppets shaped by the influences of great powers, especially the American, and by institutions (religion, society, politics, family, education ...) that , At the same time, suck the original sweetness of life and dictate an artificially sweetened form, which leave a bitter taste in the way of life.
By accompanying for seven days and nights the trajectory of Marcello Rubini (played by the excellent Marcello Mastroianni), a celebrity journalist living in Rome who self-questions his craft and his life, mainly because he does not have the sensation of happiness , Nor so much of realization, who both (life and profession), projected or promised. So we have a protagonist who is basically driven by emptiness and the search to fill it, moreover, his search is crossed by the contact with several people, who basically only express the same feeling of Marcello, and when we have a figure of apparently life full , So we can visualize the facade of this appearance, as in the life of the millionaire, father and intellectual Steiner (Alain Cuny), a figure at first glance enviable, but who intimately lives under the despair and anguish of not being able to stand out, produce and Keep yourself in the position and level that arouses such admiration.
Between the initial scene of the film, a helicopter carrying the image of Christ, flying over the city of Rome to its destination that is the Vatican, and during the journey we have Marcello trying to communicate and conquer some girls who were sunbathing on the roof Of a residence. The attempt of communication is metaphorically weakened, not only by the noise of the helicopter, but by various conditions and situations that reflect in the incommunicability of modern life. And this character of non-communication is something present and consequently characteristic of La Dolce Vita. I can cite another striking example of this, the relationship between Marcello and the millionaire Maddalena (Anouk Aimée), with all the differences of social class and life styles, these two figures complement each other in the void and in the search to understand and fill these gaps , But at the same time they resemble the sense of emptiness, they individuate themselves in such a way that they are not heard, they are not able to perceive the similarities of needs, and end up having one for the other as a temporary object for Fun and punctual use.
Fellini's choice to perform this production using the black-and-white image of a life that, conversely, propagates to the title is limited in two tones, and that among so many goals, such as criticizing the archetypal form of American influence Especially the American films), in short, collaborate (merit for the work done by Otello Martellina), in the metaphor and narrative of the story. Using a photograph of thick contrasts between light and shadow, providing the game of a life between appearances, mainly indoors, versus the solar of external life that presents the hardness and urban mass, and that camouflages again in the dark night that Is illuminated by the artificiality of lights, bars and party houses that reflect neon and the insatiable flash of the cameras when recording the various moments of famous figures, celebrities, who between so many moments capture even the idleness and banality common to any being , And yet a target of interest and curiosity of non-famous people, mainly because of the desire to deceive an enviable or objective lifestyle, in the face of the insignificance of ordinary life.
This deceiving tone is very well represented in the various performances, as well as in the work of art direction and costume, which have in common the dimension of openness artificial and that tries to veil reality, as in large houses and even castles with beautiful facades, But inside that are real ruins, such as the very identity of its owners, who hide in makeup, lights and costumes of external and fragile beauty in the face of the decadent interiority of these people, this difference of exterior and interior was a stimulating motor for the Creation of Fellini, since the dress worn by the ladies of that time, whose fashion was dressed in bag style or "dress bag", aroused the curiosity of the director by its frame that can present and pretend the body, and a very beautiful woman, But it can also hide a skeletal being of misery and loneliness. Something that we can identify as common to all the characters, always attached to a beautiful façade, highlighting the character of Marcello Rubini in another majestic work of Marcello Mastroianni, who can establish very well the subtleties and dramatic curve of the character, As well as the clear trace of graphic oscillations of a life that oscillates in times of peaks of a doubtful origin of both happiness and anguish and sadness.
Curiously, the figure of the photographers of celebrities, that later and because of this film, happened to be called worldwide of "paparazzi", due to the personage "Paparazzo", interpreted by Walter Santesso, in fact, this group of photographers of the film, seem more occupy A position of parasite of the life of others, there are no reflections on their work, so little about their attitudes, only reveal themselves in the thirsty desire to invade the privacy of others and get the best photo, the best moment that arouses the curiosity of the public that will consume The printed or television newspapers, something that as a public of "La Doce Vita", we are in part, equal, since we are placed in a point of view that tries to deepen in the curiosity of those lives, and by the cutback realized by Fellini , Since in this film, his approach is dimensioned in the lives of a class in position and much more favorable condition, compared with the common life, even the photographer M Arcello Rubini, is in an economically privileged situation, which often appears to be a crisis that oscillates between the discourse of a privileged class who experiences dull moments in having their lives as material of interest by placing them in a model place or Another crisis of the age of the journalist in dreams and promises of life as a young man, and now, at maturity, they are unreachable. With this we have in the proposal made by Fellini, the registration and the use of a (privileged) form, which confuses and generates moments that makes his speech unfeasible.
Having only this caveat, "La Dolce Vita" is a timeless film, of pertinent considerations to contemporary life and a flawless style narrative, which are true legacies for the history of world cinema, and that will be for generations, like forgetting the Famous scene in which Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg bathe in the Fontana di Trevi or the children who parody and criticize the history of the children of Fatima, fed by the search of adults for a way out, a solution to the harshness of life. "La doce Vida" is an exceptional film in every respect, but mainly because it confronts the spectator with the emptiness of our uncertainties regarding life.
By the closing moments of the film, we're wondering just how far Marcello will go, how much of a sleezy "worm" he really is. Here his good friend has just murdered his children and committed suicide, and now he's out partying, wrecking his friend's home, and trying to push the boundaries of the party into stripping and even sex. When he doesn't quite get his way, he resorts to humiliating another girl at the party, turning her into a chicken by drenching her in water and sticking feathers ripped from a pillow onto her. The party ends with each person given a grand exit to dance and music as Marcello throws feathers in the air - it feels like we're going to end it here, and the sense that this film will have many unanswered questions, loose ends, and possibly leave us unsatisfied, creeps over. The film keeps going, but why? What is this little epilogue at the beach where they find a dead sting ray and he sees the young girl from the cafe? My take is that she's the embodiment of what the film will define as "too far," since we're wondering what depths Marcello will stoop to. She is unquestionably underage, but there is a loving glance between the two. He wants her to come along, but she interprets his gesture as a wave goodbye - they can't see each other clearly. Happenstance keeps them apart, perhaps for the better. His appetite would never be satisfied with her, she'd only be as good as her youth, which will eventually go away. Marcello does not learn how to love in this film, he is bound to hedonism, alcoholism, and disgracing others. The question isn't so much would he or wouldn't he with the young girl - he most certainly would - it's will he or won't he, and it turns out he doesn't. That's just how it happens.
Like Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street, we're drawn in and entertained by Marcello's antics. We're equally satisfied and frustrated with his losses, like when his reunion with his first encounter turns into a serious love talk, only to be flipped on him as she falls into another man's arms right amidst his admitting he loves her. But like a Fellini film usually does, we drift into the next scenario and away from that one - that world now exists solely in the imagination as we watch a wonderfully bizarre ghost hunt in an old beaten down house that's part of this family's wealthy estate. Here, a woman will simulate sex with a ghost, and Marcello will find himself in another sexcapade.
Explores some interesting themes, but is a bit hit-and-miss. The examination of the intrusiveness and fabrication of the news by the media was good, highlighted by a few powerful scenes (the Virgin Mary kids and the bus stop scenes especially). There is also the idea of longing for a simpler life. However, these themes aren't explored very thoroughly, and there is no profound conclusion to them.
The main problem is that the powerful scenes get diluted by some pretty dull, pointless ones. Too much time is spent on random stuff that has no bearing on the plot. Not only does this make the movie unnecessarily longer, but minimises the impact of the more profound sub-plots. Too many powerful scenes followed up by meaningless scenes.
On the plus side, there's Anita Ekberg. She is stunningly beautiful and provides the movie's iconic moment - the fountain scene. Her role did not require much acting talent but she makes up for this by having great...presence. Unfortunately, she only appears for about 1/6th of the movie. Once she is out of the picture, the energy level of the movie reduces significantly.
Interesting to note that the supporting cast includes Nico, later of The Velvet Underground and Nico fame. She appears as herself, sort of.
The first instance of imagery overpowering substance occurs during the first night when Marcello meets Maddalena, a beautiful heiress, in a nightclub. After being seduced by Maddalena, Marcello has trouble resisting temptation and eventually submits to his desires. Surprisingly, Marcello feels no shame. In fact, his lust for Maddalena becomes stronger. The noncommittal relationship and desire highlights the superficial nature of both characters.
Shortly thereafter, Marcello meets Sylvia, the Swedish-American actress, and begins to pursue her. However, what he is really chasing down is her image, that of a free-spirited, beautiful, and lively woman. True to her superficial character, the only things that matter in her life are pleasure, attention, and wealth. Because of this, she completely ignores Marcello when he tries to woo her. Infatuated with her public persona, Marcello fails to step back and question what is in front of him. Because of the reliance on this image, Marcello ultimately never gets her and furthers himself into the meaningless misconception of fame and fortune.
Similar to the encounter with Sylvia, Marcello once again finds himself a victim of a meaningless narrative. He travels to the site where two children claim to have seen the Virgin Mary. When he arrives, however, it is completely different than what he expected. Instead of a reserved landscape with humble followers of Christ seeking peacefulness, it is a gigantic theatrical operation. The cameras are there only to capture the false image of the Madonna. Consequently, the viewers of this event try to convince themselves that what they see is true. In reality, it is just an illusion.
Following this night is the party at Steiner's rich, ornate apartment. Once again, similar to his experiences with Maddalena and Sylvia, Marcello is caught in a situation perceiving someone as an ideal image. Marcello admires the "sophistication" and "happiness" of Steiner, idolizing him as the perfect man with a perfect life. Both inspirational and admiring to Marcello, Steiner represents the hollowness of the aristocracy. A seemingly happy married man, Steiner is wealthy and powerful. However, his materialism does not conceal his lack of depth and character. Although he has all these material possessions, Steiner is clearly missing something spiritually. Tragically, Steiner takes his life as well as his children's. This symbolically represents a loss hope in the dreams of Marcello, but, more importantly, it signifies the bleakness and fruitlessness of the luxurious lifestyle, something Marcello thought was so great. His suicide shows that his life has become meaningless, for he cannot cope with the disenchantment and loneliness.
By affiliating himself with members of high social status, Marcello tries to discover meaning. However, he cannot find what he is looking for because his search is characterized by people with hollow lives. The elite are seemingly content and are looked upon as exhibiting an ideal life. In actuality, these individuals are emotionally lost with no purpose. Maddalena is bored with her money and, despite being a beautiful heiress, cannot find meaning. Sylvia is only an image and turns out to be a simpleminded fool. The faking of the Virgin Mary turns out to be a sham. Oblivious to the meaningless social context, Marcello does not look past the persona of Steiner and finds himself disillusioned. In the end, his reliance on the facades of his acquaintances dooms him to a life of emptiness.