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
In the beach house sequence, when the woman asks Marcello if he was a 'writer once,' and Marcello announced he's now a publicity agent,' the young woman reads from a magazine 'he has a Greek profile, but the modernity of his expression brings him to the most modern actor of our time - Paul Newman.
I first saw this movie probably over 25 years ago when I was quite a bit younger. At that point I enjoyed it for its party scenes, sense of joy and life and vitality and....Marcello Mastroianni. Now that I'm older myself and have just recently seen the movie again, I find that I have a much deeper understanding of it. Maybe it takes some age to find some meaning. In a nutshell, Marcello is at a crossroads in his life, he's unable to settle down or move foreward into any direction - he's a diletante with aspirations but no real goals. He's wrapped up in himself and in projecting rather dreamy ideals onto other people. But as he keeps projecting on to others he comes to find in each situation that he doesn't really know the person and they are a mystery and probably a disappointment to him. certainly steiner is the biggest disappointment and disillusions him to a degree that he is apparently lost to a life of corruption and decadence as a result. but it's not that these people are difficult to understand to someone other than marcello - i think we can see that anita ekberg's character really is just a big good-natured blond and not the mysterious goddess marcello makes her out to be; his father is again - the typical traveling salesman and perhaps not the paternal figure that marcello would like him to be. his amour maddelena lives up to her name even as marcello starts believing himself in love with her - he's literally seduced by nothing more than an image he creates in his own mind. his friend steiner seems to have it all to marcello and to be the renaissance man that he would like to be - but, of course, he is dissatisfied and disturbed and we see what the end is. the only one whom marcello forms a somewhat realistic connection with is his girlfriend whom he treats badly and neglects despite her obvious love for him. he refuses to actually work on the one relationship that he could actually succeed at - he would rather dream about possibilities than actualize something.
marcello cannot communicate with others because he cannot see them as the people they really are - he just sees them as projections of his own needs, aspirations, desires and goals. when he finds out what they're really like, he either turns away or falls apart. this is an outstanding movie - 10 out of 10 and beautifully photographed. if you don't get it now, try again in 10 years - it will wait for you to catch up.
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