La Dolce Vita (Italy/France, 1960)

Directed by: Federico Fellini. “Marcelloooooo!” My Italian new wave is embarrassingly minimal, so I thought this would be as good a place to start as any. I’ve got a bit of the background with some DeSica—Bicycle Thieves and Terminal Stationbut I know enough to know that when you start messing around with Fellini and Rosselini and co,  we’re looking at the difference between, say, Bresson/Renoir and Godard/Truffaut. But honestly, I’ve never really seen anything like this film—the closest thing is probably Slacker, actually, in its drifting, aimless, symphony-of-a-city vibe. I think I generally enjoyed this film, once I got the vibe of it, the pace, once I dropped expectations and realized that this is a dream movie whose subtext is very specific to Italy in the late 50’s/early 60’s, like the way you accept all the Biblical/Greek mythology subtext you’re missing when you read Joyce (and for that matter, I’m sure a lot of Biblical and ancient mythology knowledge would help enrich this movie, too). Although, honestly, it got hard to keep track of all the characters that kept recurring—one elegant, dark-haired, Italian socialite in a black dress starts to look the same as the next after awhile. (Sorry!) But that dream-scape quality is something that really agreed with me, and this movie keeps lingering in my subconscious months later, which is always a good sign. Overall, a welcome introduction to this little world.

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One response to “La Dolce Vita (Italy/France, 1960)

  1. Yes, I think the point of the film is these people supposedly living “the sweet life” are really just drifting. The image that sticks in my head is of Marcello riding on the back of some girl on all fours at a party. Lots of beautiful people but lots of emptiness too.

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