A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Journalist and man-about-town Marcello struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome's elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend, all the while searching for a way to become a serious writer. Written by
From so many perspectives, this film is a true artistic masterpiece, and happily, a commercial success. Those vehement in their dislike are simply wrong; their criticism does not hold up. Fellini and some few others, unlike most critics, completely understood that film derives NOT from the world of plays but from PAINTING. First time viewers - if the plot seems confusing, should just sit back and enjoy the staggering accomplishments of lighting, cinematography and staging. And that is leaving out of course, acting, writing directing!
Briefly, the film follows seven aimless days and nights in the life of Marcello Rubini, a world weary Roman "reporter" who writes for gossip magazines. Yes, it does document the slow self-destruction of an unfulfilled writer, it is really a dire warning that the banality and sheer boredom of the late 20th Century were (are) likely to bore us ALL to death ... and Fellini hit the mark with perfect precision, the world's best bullseye, if you will ...
The acting is first rate, Mastroianni is so masterful, that when he uses one or two of his cliches - they stick out like sore thumbs in a towering performance. (We forgive him for those tiny imperfections!) Likewise, all the players - from leads to bit roles are brilliant.
A film then, not in this world, or really even of it, but an oblique reflection of the coming decade (the movie was shot in 1959) the details of which, Fellini already seemed to know! Staggeringly hip and modern - well, a Masterpiece!
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